A new project is to be launched by two local organisations which will welcome and support people relocating to the Isle of Man.

One World Centre (Isle of Man) has been awarded a grant from Manx Lottery Trust for it to launch ‘The Welcome Project’, an initiative alongside Café Lingo (Isle of Man), which will see an expansion in services dedicated to welcoming newcomers to the Island.

These services include expanding Café Lingo’s English language services, putting on events and community programmes to help integration and creating a drop-in facility for people to ask questions, with language support where needed. Both organisations will also create further links between themselves and other charitable organisations, Government departments and community groups to spread awareness and develop helpful relationships.

Wendy Shimmin, Coordinator at One World Centre, said: ‘One of our aims at the One World Centre is to recognise how interdependent and interconnected we are with others in the world and to encourage respect and understanding for all cultures, both globally and on our Island. The Welcome Project is a way of putting this into action and helping newcomers to understand our own culture and customs so they can more readily feel part of our community.

‘We are conscious that the Government’s Island Plan has ambitions to grow the population, and that the further development of various industry sectors may see more workers from overseas moving here. With this in mind, we would like the Isle of Man to be ready to welcome them and for their arrival to be seen in a positive light.’

As part of the initiative, One World Centre have appointed a Project Officer, Charlotte Dutton, who will be dedicated to supporting people new to the Island with their understanding of Manx culture and customs, and English language skills. 

Charlotte said: ‘I am delighted to be taking up the position of Welcome Project Officer. This exciting initiative will provide support to newcomers to the Isle of Man via weekly drop-in sessions, English language lessons and social events. Having studied and worked abroad before relocating to the Isle of Man, I understand how daunting moving to a new country can be. I am looking forward to meeting individuals and groups throughout our community and helping them to settle into island life.’

Karen Norton from Café Lingo said: ‘Café Lingo, run entirely by volunteers, welcomes to the Island non-native English speakers of any nationality, age, gender, faith or no faith. We provide free weekly English lessons, share cultures, pass on information, and help them to integrate, and we’re delighted to work jointly with the One World Centre to expand our services.’

Stephen Turner, Chairman of Manx Lottery Trust, added: ‘The Welcome Project will provide a great deal of support in making people feel welcome and understood, and we wish the organisations every success.’

This grant is from Manx Lottery Trust’s Community Awards Programme. Manx Lottery Trust has been delegated to distribute National Lottery money from The National Lottery Community Fund. To find out more, visit: www.mlt.org.im

Karen Norton Charlotte Dutton