Merton last week (16 July) welcomed members of the Slovak government as part of a study visit focusing on integration, labour, migration and intercultural dialogue.
The visitors were from the Slovakian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, the Slovakian Interior Ministry, the Bratislava Regional Government and the International Organisation for Migration Office in Bratislava who organised the visit.
During the week long study visit to the UK, the group met with the UK Borders Agency, Jobcentre Plus, the Home Office and various London boroughs. They came to Merton and met with Councillor David Williams, Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Henry Nelless, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, and Kate Martyn, head of stronger communities. Discussions included immigration in Merton and how the council and partner agencies have supported new immigrants to access services and integrate successfully, and focus was also on case studies looking at of some of the innovative projects the council and its partners have run.
The group went on to have a tour of the Ahmadiyyan mosque in Morden and a discussion about the Ahmadiyyan community’s experience of settling in Morden and working with public agencies and the local community.
Councillor David Williams, Leader of Merton Council said:
” This visit was a really positive one for all involved. Our Slovak colleagues found their time in Merton very informative and were very keen to find out more about the work we are doing on community cohesion and integration, especially as 85% of Merton’s residents already agree that Merton is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together.
“Although the population and communities of Slovakia and London are very different we can undoubtedly learn from each other and this experience is one that can only help Merton build even stronger communities for the future.”