Citizens Rights Project: a new online rights service for the Polish and Spanish communities in Edinburgh
The Citizens’ Rights Project is expanding its services for European citizens by providing a multilingual online rights service for EU citizens in Edinburgh during the pandemic. The purpose of the service will be to provide free information, advice and assistance, in community languages, for EU citizens who are encountering particular problems in employment, housing, benefits, accessing public services generally during the pandemic, and also in consumer matters.
We have launched this service because our organisation, along with our partner organisations such as Feniks and Oficina Precaria Escocia (OPE), have received an increasing number of enquiries on these issues during the current Covid-19 crisis.
This service will initially be provided in Polish and Spanish, although we hope in due course to be able to extend this service to other European languages.
We have been able to launch this service thanks to a small grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, together with some funds raised by our recent crowdfunder. We are initially employing two part-time members of staff, one Polish-speaking and the other Spanish-speaking to provide this service. If funds and/or volunteers permit, we would aim to provide this service in other EU languages as well.
The funding will allow us to operate this service initially for five months, although we hope we might be able to continue the project after that.
The service will aim to provide information on the issues described above, assistance with those making applications to relevant bodies, along with advice and support to those with problems or disputes on such issues. We will also be setting up a network to allow us to refer issues and cases to other agencies and bodies where our service is unable to provide the type of support and advice that is required.
We expect that all information and services will be provided online during the initial period of operation because of the pandemic. The service will be accepting referrals from partner organisations from the end of January, and will be open to receive general queries later.
We will announce on this website, and through the Polish and Spanish language media serving those communities in Scotland, when we will be able to accept general queries.
The service will initially be restricted to people living in Edinburgh, because of the terms of the funding we have received, but may be extended further if we receive funding for that.
*Image Creative Commons by raywoo