Gurkha community leaders from across UK were invited to a joint meeting on 3rd of February 2012 at Tamudhee Bhawan, Mytchett Surrey. The objective was for mutual sharing of ideas, experiences, knowledge and useful information, and to discuss collectively if and how the government's announced Gurkha Integration Fund for Gurkha families could be best utilised for the community's effective integration in UK. Here are the minutes of the meeting so that the wider Gurkha community members will also be aware of what was discussed and what were the outcomes.
NB: Subsequent to the meeting, the information and consolidated ideas were presented to the Department for Communities and Local Government for consideration by the Gurkha Welfare Centre, who had been invited for a meeting on the 8th of February.
Loose Minutes of Gurkha Nepalese Community Leaders Meeting
Held on 3rd February 2012 - Tamudhee Bhawan, Mytchett, Surrey
Attendance of Community Leaders/Area Representatives/Advisors/Charities from:
1. Mr Bal Bahadur Rai- Bracknell Forest Council
2. Mr Ram Tilija- Bracknell
3. Mr Purna Bahadur Rana – Greenwich
4. Mr Reena Yohmo Rai- Assistant Secretary, Greenwich
5. Mr. Bishan Thapa- Greenwich
6. Mr Sundar Gurung- Guildford
7. Mr. Ai Bahadur Gurung- Guildford
8. Mr Prem Bahadur Ghale- Guildford
9. Mr Bel Bahadur Gurung- Guildford
10. Lt (Retd) Dam Bahadur Gurung- Maidstone
11. Miss Radha Thapa - Farnborough
12. Mr Parsuram Rai - Farnborough
13. Mr Rohit Kumar Gurung- Farnborough
14. Lt (Retd) Purna Bahadur Gurung - Farnborough
15. Amanda Lee- Farnborough
16. Capt (Retd) Hari Bahadur Thapa- Farnborough
17. Mr Purna Bahadur Gurung – Mayfield Communities Partnership
18. Mr Mandhoj Gurung- Hayes, London
19. Mr Tej Pun- Hayes, London
20. Mr Birkha Bahadur Gurung – Hayes, London
21. Mr. Bishnu Bahadur Gurung- Hounslow, London
22. Mr. Mandhoj Gurung- Hounslow, London
23. Mr. Lachhya Gurung- Burnt Oak, London
24. Mr. Rag Purja- South London
25. Mr Raj (Rajendra) Chhetri (RGN, RMN)- Woking
26. Mr Bhagawan Chamling- Woking
27. Hon Lt (Retd) Chakra Rai – Woking
28. Mr. Krishna Gahatraj –Andover
29. Capt (Retd) Krishna Gurung- Camberley
30. Mr. Bal Krishna Rai - Reading
31. Mr. Peter Beard- Forgotten British Gurkhas Charity, Reading
32. Mr. Peter Beckinsale- Forgotten British Gurkhas Charity, Reading
33. Maj (Retd) David Owens- Council of British Gurkhas
34. Dr. C.B. Gurung- Independent Observer
35. Lt. (Retd.) Ram Bahadur Gurung, 6GR- Volunteer helping GWC Aldershot, UK
36. Mr Gyanraj Rai- Spokesperson, UBGEA
37. Gurkha Mum, Gurkha Dad, RBL- Blackpool, Lancashire
38. Mrs. Nina Gurung- Medway (Coord Team)
39. Maj (Retd) Damar Ghale MBE – GRNC (Coord Team)
40. Capt (Retd) Gary Ghale- GWC (Coord Team)
+ Around 110 other interested individuals were also present at the meeting.
Apologies – were received from the following communities:
6. East London
8. Wales - Cwmbran
13. Wales - Cardiff
18. Wales - Brecon
A. Welcome and Introduction
1. Maj. (Retd.) Damar Ghale welcomed and thanked everyone for their attendance and making themselves available, apologised for short notice, highlighted and appreciated difficulties faced by other community leaders/representatives in attending the meeting due to unavoidable commitments and short notice period.
2. Letters of invitation from meeting conveners to the Hon. PM and Hon. Minister Eric Pickles and subsequent reply from DCLG Minister Eric Pickles was shared with attendees.
3. Informed community leaders about DCLG delegation wanting to come to the next community leaders’ meeting, if possible, before 1st March.
4. Briefed on Health and Safety.
5. Highlighted that the meeting sought was for the benefit of the entire Gurkha/Nepalese community in UK through mutual sharing of ideas, experiences, knowledge and useful information, and to discuss collectively; if and how the announced Gurkha Integration Fund (GIF) for Gurkha families could be utilised for the community’s effective integration in UK.
6. Meeting’s outlines was as follows:
a. Brief Overview of the Meeting’s background.
b. Highlighting Significance of the Meeting and its Objectives.
c. Introduction from area community leaders/representatives and highlighting of community’s developmental stages/achievements in respective areas.
d. Importance of the meeting and floor discussions on priorities issues appertaining to ex-Gurkha communities respective areas. Consolidation of priority issues.
B. Brief Overview of the Meeting’s Background:
7. Nina provided brief update about her study on Gurkha settlement and integration process in UK, its key findings and recommendations, why it was necessary to do the research, and how different community leader dajubhais, committee members, organisations and community member dajubhais didibahinis had all kindly helped.
8. On the basis of her research, she had been invited to a consultation meeting on 12th January with the Department for Communities and Local Government in London. At the meeting, as anticipated after the announcement of Gurkha integration fund by the government, it was highlighted that various Councils with Gurkha settlements had approached the DCLG for a share of the Gurkha Integration Fund. Some initiatives e.g. cultural awareness package, informative, recently-launched magazine had also been presented for consideration as key integration tools for Gurkhas in UK.
9. Whilst reiterating her research findings and recommendations at the meeting consisting of senior officials and senior researchers, Nina had highlighted that her research methodology had also showed Gurkha Nepalese community leaders as key players in their respective communities, including in terms of discussing and cascading any important developments down to grassroot level. Also, various Gurkha settlements across UK had their own democratically elected community leaders and committee members, and as opposed to common misconception, the communities are not ‘hard to reach’, that the community leaders knew best their own community’s circumstances and needs and hence Councils ought to consult with their local Gurkha Nepalese community leaders on exploration of the local Gurkha Nepalese community’s main priorities, planning appropriate intervention (integration packages), as well as implementing and reviewing them. That way, local Gurkha Nepalese communities would also know and contribute to decision-making processes on how and where the integration fund could be spent for Gurkhas effective integration.
10. Nina had pointed out that integration is not a one-off process, that it took time and hence, the fund £1.5m was welcome news but actually quite a small amount. Also, while two new appointments by GWC for outreach support work were welcome news, it was inadequate in addressing growing and vast area-based differing needs/level of needs. In such case, area-based responses determined jointly by councils and Gurkha communities ought to be considered alongside GWC’s work, English lessons, cultural awareness and understanding as well as community centres for large Gurkha settlement areas such as Rushmoor.
11. There were also explainable reasons behind veterans –more so those without family and relatives in UK-going to or relocating to Rushmoor in large numbers, and those were: concentration of effective, mostly bilingual service provision/service providers based in Rushmoor, including Maddat Samuha with its direct link with the council and affiliated services, and the GW office’s fast track service with DWP on pension credit applications. Faster access to pension credit also meant faster access to housing benefits. On the other hand, older people coming to other parts of UK were mostly reliant on community volunteers who as hard working first generation migrants, did use their few days off in between to help out. But the veterans’ wait for help to access entitled services in such cases were inevitably longer. The waiting now has now been considerably reduced as GWC UK works in close partnership with DWP Pension Services. Some veterans had noticed their friends go to Rushmoor and receive help almost immediately and had settled down in no time. By the end of Nina’s research, some older veterans from Kent who had expressed the above experiences had also relocated and settled in Rushmoor.
12. At the meeting, it was clear that funding was to be released soon, either mid or end February.
13. After the meeting, Nina had sought advice from the largest Gurkha community Chairperson Tikendra dai, its key advisor Damar dai, and thereafter, Gary dai (as GWC regularly invited Gurkha community leaders for meetings, had access to the Gurkha community leaders contact list and could help cascade the message/invitation quickly) to see if a joint meeting with Gurkha community leaders could possibly benefit the wider Gurkha Nepalese community through sharing of useful ideas, achievements, challenges, useful information including the above, and to ensure that Gurkha community leaders’ views and voices were not overlooked during decision-making processes. All agreed that it was possible, was a good idea and despite the short time frame (before projected release of funds), ought to give it a try at least. All also agreed that if key officials or even the DCLG Minister Hon. Eric Pickles could come and hear brief updates from community leaders about their respective communities and clarify facts on the ground, it could further them understand Gurkha issues better and help the community leaders’ voices to be heard by the councils. Due to the short time frame, if the DCLG Minister and his officials could not make it to the meeting, then through joint discussion between community leaders, Gurkha communities’ main area-based or overall priorities would be put into writing and forwarded afterwards to the ministry.
14. On that basis, a meeting was called and invitations sent out (after seeking professional advice on necessary protocols from Professor P.F. Taylor-Gooby, Nina’s research supervisor), culminating eventually in today’s meeting.
15. (Nina then answered questions from Maj. David Owens, Peter Beckinsale, David (Gurkha dad) regarding the research key findings, including on the main infrastructures most likely to be under pressure due to large Gurkha settlements in small areas i.e. health and education respectively, while income and age-related circumstances had enabled many older veterans to be entitled to Pension credits and housing benefits).
C. Introduction from area community leaders/representatives and highlighting of community’s developmental stages/achievements in respective areas
16. Woking: Mr. Bhagwan Chamling informed that Woking had formed a working committee and would be approaching the Council. Also that GWC should lead and Gurkhas should benefit if fund is for Gurkha settlement and integration. The fund should be given according to number of households, and to please consider welfare officer provision.
17. (David informed that over 60 Chief Executives had been approached by him and Wendy, and everyone had wanted to support and work for their local Gurkha communities. Gurkhas should therefore knock on their doors. The CEs had said that if the fund went only to Rushmoor, it could become a magnet for Gurkhas and that they would encourage Gurkhas to go to Rushmoor for necessary help.)
18. Woking’s British Gurkha Veterans Association Chairman, Hon Lt. Chakra Rai, (Woking was found to have both Gurkha Nepalese community, and a separate British Gurkha Veterans Association), informed that its membership totalled 70 families.
19. Mr. Rajen Chhetri (Advisor, first UK Nepalese Male Psychiatric Nurse) informed that its community had already established links with the council and was involved with consultations. Some support work positions had been created and filled, trainings were given, but these were soon coming to an end.
20. Farnborough: Mr. Parsuram Rai of Kirat Rai Yayokha UK asked if the £1.5m funding was only for Rushmoor.
(Nina replied that originally, that was what the media had reported, but it had later become clear that it was in fact the whole pot, and hence a small amount. David added that this was why it was necessary to see if additional funding sources could be sought to further support Gurkha communities’ integration in UK).
21. Ex-NRNUK President, Mr. Surya Gurung, shared information that he had heard that 6 councils were to receive the £1.5m funding. As £500,000 had already gone to Rushmoor, that left £1m for the 5 remaining councils. He shared his views that wherever we are living in UK, issues like language, transportation were common, and exhorted everyone to speak to their respective councils and to be aware of where the funding goes and how the money is spent.
22. Reading: Mr. Bal Krishna Rai, former Vice-President of ex-British Gurkha Association, stated that if councils were to get the money, then we need to highlight our needs and language problems. Reading based community volunteers were already providing English classes for their veterans group, but for effective long-term provision, funding was the key. Also, Nepalese classes/school was important for the younger generation.
23. Hounslow: Chairman of Gurkha Nepalese community of LB of Hounslow, Mr. Bishnu Gurung, informed that all Gurkha Nepalese population came under the same umbrella. Asked what the real difference was between ‘funding’ and ‘grant’.
(Maj. Damar Ghale informed that ‘funding’ primarily came from public fund, whereas grants could be applied for and accessed from independent charities).
24. Farnborough: Capt (Retd) Hari Thapa of Madat Samuha, highlighted how the Maddat Samuha was founded in 2008 to help address our veteran group’s needs and also presented a written account of the Maddat Samuha’s work so far. He reflected on how volunteers were crucial to the group and while learning English was important to their life in UK, the reason they did not possess the skill despite spending years in the Army was because they never got opportunity to learn English whilst serving in the Army.
25. Also admitted that there are some problems, and some unwitting mistakes made, but that ‘We are working really hard’ in raising awareness about cultural understanding. The Maddat Samuha needed funding and budget for its helpful activities.
26. Also exhorted everyone to share any useful knowledge so that we can all become well-informed and stronger.
27. Maddat Samuha often got calls and had helped people arriving at the airport and answered to queries from Nepal. Most of all, it was important to remember that if one abides by the country’s laws, one has nothing to fear. Also exhorted everyone to volunteer when possible, to help one another.
28. Reading : Cllr Peter Beard and also Chairman of The Forgotten British Gurkhas, highlighted the local Gurkha community’s comparative success with few hiccups in the early stages. He felt that it had taken some time and patience, but messages were starting to get across, with the help of some very hard working volunteers in the community.
29. Emphasised that learning English was the secret to integration; already, Reading Council was funding English lessons for 50 ladies with volunteer teachers from Reading University, but would want the gentlemen also to take up free classes to benefit and further refine their acquired English skills.
30. (David answered that the onus should not rest solely on Nepalese people to learn English, but Councils should also take active interest in learning about Nepalese and their language).
31. Andover: Chairman of Andover Nepalese Community, Mr Krishna Gahatraj, informed that despite its relatively recent establishment (October 2010), the community had seen and achieved many positive results. Through proactively approaching the council and looking at various other sources the community had been able to receive funding for free English classes (funded for 12 months) and free hall hire. The Chairperson spoke passionately about how as a leader he felt he was responsible to move his community forward and hence spent most of his free time searching for useful information that can then be shared with the community. The Chairperson exhorted everyone to support one another.
32. Camberley: Capt (retd) Krishna Gurung of Camberley Nepalese Society, stated that he was happy to hear about the fund, which he saw as just a start but needed to be utilised properly, whilst efforts should also be directed towards searching for other funding sources. Suggestions for helping address local Gurkha Nepalese community’s needs included having either a welfare officer or community worker at the council as many from the wider Gurkha Nepalese community did not know what was happening, what services are available at the council. If someone from the community were there, then such useful information could be shared and can benefit everyone.
33. South London: Chairman of South London Gurkha Association, Mr. Rag Purja, informed that SLNGA had successfully attracted funding for English classes, but that it had been very difficult to retain students due to engagement of students at work, timing not suitable for everyone etc. Although the lessons were ongoing with only limited students, it should still be appreciated that some people are willing to take time off at work simply to learn English.
34. The Chairman highlighted his deep concern about possible social exclusion of Gurkha Nepalese youths and that SLNGA had taken active steps to ensure that youths were included in every activities. SLNGA had also trailed apprenticeship positions for youths with a security company, which gave interested young people opportunity to learn about security roles, with some basic pay. 20. SLNGA had also applied for and been granted the Grassroot Fund of £5000 and had applied for the Big Lottery Fund.
35. The Chairman shared his community’s experience that it was necessary to liaise with voluntary services and come up with valid proposals and clear project objectives when applying for such funds. For SLNGA, integration was important while focus on youth groups and positive engagement of youths in society was most important.
36. GAESO Rushmoor Representative: Questioned how and why they did not know about this fund until now. Informed everyone that volunteers had been actively helping other vulnerable veterans but that there ought to be consideration for volunteers’ transportation costs and time. There was also urgent need for work on drug awareness and education.
37. Plumstead: Vice Chairperson, Mr. Bishan Thapa of Greenwich Gurkha Ex Servicemen Association, highlighted the rapidly increasing population in Plumstead. Within a span of 2011-now, there were 230 registered households, while there were thought to be around 500 non-registered households. There were ESOL classes being run for the community, some of which were free. The community had been able to acquire £48500 from CESI-UK, which had been utilised to set up The Gurkha Heritage programme. The outcome was thereafter shared with the Borough Council.
38. Vice Chairperson welcomed everyone coming to Plumstead who wished to learn more about the programme to contact the committee members/himself; they would gladly share the information.
39. Bracknell-Forest + Sandhurst: Mr. Bal Rai, Nepalese Community Support Worker as well as Advisor at Bracknell Forest and Secretary at Sandhurst Nepalese Communities informed that the two communities were trying to merge and could in future be represented as one, as both fall under one council.
40. Mr. Rai explained that he was a paid employee as a Nepali Community Support Officer at the council. As a recognised official within the council, Mr. Rai was able to contribute to consultations and policy meetings involving the local Nepalese community’s integration and welfare issues at the highest level. In fact, a Nepalese Integration Committee had already been established with the sole purpose of aiding integration of local Nepalese through exploring and addressing key needs and barriers to integration.
41. He appreciated the integration fund from the government, but also highlighted that there are other various sources of funding and platform for our community’s representation e.g. Ethnic Minority alliance, Volunteers Action Group, European Union Integration Fund, NHS, Council etc. In the case of Bracknell Forest and Sandhurst based Gurkha Nepalese communities’ past initiatives, it had been possible to convince and access funds from the NHS, Police and Social Services demonstrating that if the community has a credible and useful plan, people or departments are willing to listen and offer help even through such joint-funding options.
42. Some observed achievements in the local community included: high attendance in ESOL classes, healthy living sessions, high number of community members aiming for ESOL Entry Level 3, equivalent to Life in UK Test.
(A written copy of relevant information were also submitted)
43. Hayes: General Secretary, Mr. Tej Pun of Hayes Nepalese Community, stated that it is a fairly small community, around 200 registered household numbers. People want to learn English but can be difficult due to employment patterns/times. Highlighted the need for a co-ordinator and social worker to work with the community and aid their integration process.
44. UBGEA: Spokes Person, Mr. Gyan Raj Rai, highlighted that at present, all community volunteers were working to aid veterans but there was still so much need yet to be addressed. While Pension parity was first priority for UBGEA as a campaign group, suggested that the government’s integration fund should reach all areas with Gurkha population proportionately and that apart from the £1m now left, it was necessary to discuss how to attract other funding. Also, when GWC goes for DCLG meeting, consideration should be given for a representative group need to go together, so that the group too can outline the needs of Gurkha community and how to address them. Members for such representative group should be jointly appointed by community leaders.
45. Additionally, every community should have bilingual, council-based worker.
46. UBGEA also presented a written copy of their main observations and recommendations.
47. GAESO/Independent Observer: Dr. C.B. Gurung highlighted that £.5m had already been allocated to Rushmoor. He questioned the rationale behind learning English for veterans who are very old, but supported that language is important for people of employment age.
Also highlighted that recent changes in immigration rules meant that there was already heavy emphasis on learning language.
48. Farnborough: Lt (Retd) Purna Bahadur mama from Maddat Samuha reiterated that he had faced some of the most difficulties after arriving in UK in 2006 as there were no support organisations and all his savings dissipated in no time. At that time, SSAFA had stepped in and offered £19/week allowance but that for veterans coming to UK now, the Maddat Samuha was there to support them. It already had over 700 members. He asked everyone to make sure to utilise the funds. Also explained that everyone needs to learn English, including older veterans so that they can tell doctors about ailments, at council for help to access benefits, to tell others when hungry. Added that English lessons were run at Nirmaya Rodhi Ghar every Wednesday and also at Aldershot Council. A ladies group had also been formed where they would get together to support one another, plan cultural programmes, involve in sewing, knitting etc.
49. Burnt Oak: Chairman, Lachhya Gurung of Burnt Oak Nepalese Community informed that he had personally written to his MP, for proportionate distribution of the integration fund for Gurkhas and had received assurance that he was part of the committee and would duly inform the Chairperson of outcomes.
50. (Questions were raised about why Rushmoor-based Gurkha veterans cannot have free rail card akin to London-based Gurkha veterans. It was explained that if they relocated to London, it would be free, but that every council had its own sets of rules including on transportation and that the rules were applied indiscriminately to everyone within the council, i.e. even White elderly population were not able to get free train service in Rushmoor).
51. Questions were raised about possible help with funeral costs. It was explained that dependent on income and savings, some help with funeral costs were thought to be available but that to get a clearer picture, it would be helpful to ask relevant councils through community leaders/committee members or in the case of Maddat Samuha Members, even through the organisation if necessary, for further information.
52. The Forgotten British Gurkha Charity, Reading: Ex-QGE veteran Mr. Peter Beckinsale and also the founder of Charity informed that although he was not a community leader, he had been interested to come to the meeting because he supported the Gurkhas and had founded the charity.
53. His message was: “Integration is essential if Gurkhas want to stay here. Also, learn English as it is key to integration in UK”. The Charity had been helping liaise and facilitate English lessons but to ensure wider access, it would need some support however small or large, as even small funding could aid useful initiatives.
54. Guildford: Vice Chairman, Mr. Sundar Gurung of Guildford Nepalese Community, urged everyone to be positive and aware of our community’s problems and needs. There was an urgent need to prioritise how to utilise any available funds to the community creatively.
Adult education was a priority, as was lack of knowledge of available support providers and emphasis on youths. Alongside English, learning/maintaining Nepalese heritage was also important.
55. Vote for Gurkha Rights (Ex-Cllr (Gurkha mum) Wendy and Ex-Serviceman David): David highlighted that Gurkhas need to realise that there are various funding sources and that every government department is a possible source. Even the MOD had the Armed Forces Covenant Fund with grants from £5000-250,000. Already, Eastleigh Nepalese Community had received £5,000.
56. David asked anyone with queries on the various types and sources of funding to approach him and Wendy so that they could help share information as well as help prepare to apply for such funds.
56. He informed that he and Wendy had already written to 60 different councils who were all willing to meet Gurkha community leaders, work together with Gurkha communities, and enable them to access relevant funding sources. Doing so would also be in the relevant councils’ interest.
57. On the other hand, Local Authorities receive extra funding for looking after disabled people, and Gurkha communities need to know about this. Local Authorities were also legally required to provide quality and impact assessment reports and thus it was necessary for all local authorities with Gurkha settlements to reach out and learn about them.
58. David urged veterans to think themselves as rightfully entitled to services and benefits as they were all British ex-servicemen and therefore entitled to such treatment as veterans. He also urged everyone to understand that the issue was not only Gurkha issue but an Army issue too because wherever Gurkha regiments are located/re-located or established, Gurkha communities will inevitably develop and grow.
59. Kent was making a joint funding approach from different areas, and a meeting was taking place soon to which he and Wendy had been invited.
60. David reiterated that Councils need to sit down and talk to Gurkha communities, then apply for funding and that himself and Wendy were willing to help them in the process, including working together to access EU Integration fund either as a voluntary group or through the council. Gurkha communities also needed to look at the bigger picture, including adequate welfare and medical provisions in Nepal.
61. (Nina asked if Gurkha community leaders from Kent could join, to which David replied positively; Nina to forward contact details after seeking permission from the community leaders).
62. Council of British Gurkhas: Maj. (retd.) David Owens emphasised the need for council-based worker apart from GWC outreach work, as the account of Bracknell Forest Council worker had clearly shown that council-based worker will enable the community to become knowledgeable about all services and available funds that can be accessed to help the Gurkhas integrate.
D. Importance of the Meeting – Capt (Retd) Gary Ghale, GWO reminded all about the following essential points:
63. We need to share our knowledge and experience with each other so that everyone benefits from it and we become all the wiser knowing who to contact and how to acquire funding.
64. Importance of Gurkha communities to reach out to the wider community for integration. Looking only inside our own ring fence could emit a wrong signal that we are self sufficient and do not need any help.
65. Utmost importance that ex-Gurkha communities bang the door of their councils with their issues to get something done about it. ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’.
66. Very important to know the right key personnel in the councils, other communities, voluntary sector etc to establish a good rapport with them to get ones voice heard. We can learn a lot from other ethnic communities as they have been here long before us.
E. Floor Discussion (led by Capt (Retd) Gary Ghale)
67. All participants fervently participated in the discussion about Gurkha issues of their locality. Having heard from all sides, a consolidated list of issues to ask for GIF was noted and this would be promulgated along with the minutes of the meeting.
68. The list is in no particular order as each Gurkha community will have their own priorities and it is up to them to decide and prioritise their issues to present it to their respective councils to try to get a slice of the GIF.
69. Everyone concurred that the meeting was very useful and informative and everyone learned a great deal by sharing their experiences and knowledge of their community’s work and achievements. The meeting was a good success and everyone took it very positively. Finally, thank you very much to everyone.
A. Consolidated Priority Issues
B. Letter from Mr. Eric Pickles MP
C. Nepali Community Integration Working Group (example for everyone’s benefit)
Gurkha Integration Fund – Some Consolidated Suggested Ideas
· Create new or reinforce existing posts in key organisations like DWP Pension Services/Jobcentreplus/Local Councils/Citizen Advice Bureau/GP & NHS to employ retired Gurkhas or their dependents to enable efficient delivery of welfare needs and help in translations.
· *Provision of funds for ESOL/ basic English lessons for under & over 60s to give them better prospects at integrating and finding suitable jobs.
· Provision of funds to ex-Gurkha communities by employing full time/part time volunteers as liaison officers to help interpretation and to liaise with other ethnic groups to promote/encourage integration where full employment is not feasible.
· Provision of funds to produce a central ‘Life in UK’ induction presentation for new arrivals to enable them to better understand the social customs & etiquettes and culture, traffic regulations, benefit systems, banking system, GP and NHS etc. The presentation then could be disseminated to all councils who could adapt it to their requirements.
· *Provision of funds to employ ‘Nepalese Community Officers’ (NCO) to help the most vulnerable by visiting them at regular intervals to ensure their safety. The NCOs can also act as interpreter/liaison officer as well as presenting the induction programme.
· Provision of funds to hire/acquire a community/social hall/club where retired Gurkhas and their dependents can come in to socialise and be able to read their own papers and watch Nepali TVs as well as to participate in various useful activities. It will obviate the elderly from walking around aimlessly & jaywalking to while away the hours.