Help Wanted - Pt. 4

A feeling of isolation is among the issues facing newcomers to Oxford County.

 

Newcomers to Canada face a number of challenges in making their new country really feel like home.

The first of which is the paperwork and red tape involved in getting established.

Settlement Services worker Karen Oldroyd says that's the number one thing she's able to provide in helping new citizens.  "I do find a lot of paperwork and documents and reviewing that is a big need.  It actually has been surprising the number of people that have paid for that service, which is unfortunate."

But the other key aspect that the Oxford Local Immigration Partnership is catching onto is the need to make newcomers, feel more a part of their neighbourhoods and community.  In a survey for Community Employment Services, newcomers top three challenges in settling here are language, isolation and intolerance.

CES CEO Jeff Surridge, "We have numbers of stories of people who just sort of walk around the blocks in their neighbourhood and haven't even been integrated in the community yet."

Karen Olydroyd says another factor keeping some newcomers isolated, especially as brutal as its been this year, is the Canadian winter.  "Especially people coming from areas where they are not used to this weather.  It's very cold.  They don't want to walk, so they stay inside.  I hear about those stories through other people and I haven't met them yet.  That's something that I'm trying to work on, is where are people and how do I connect with them."

Tomorrow in the 5th an final instalment of "Help Wanted" - we'll look at the local efforts underway to make Oxford County more inclusive.

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