A Thanet PCSO has gone the extra mile to keep communities safe, by ensuring nothing is lost in translation during the pandemic.
When the Government introduced restrictions relating to Covid-19, PCSO Richie Pankhurst realised that for some of the international residents living in the ward he worked in, the messages were at risk of not getting through.
PCSO Pankhurst said: “I’ve worked in Cliftonville West for a year and I’m aware we have a very culturally diverse population here.
“Having spoken to many of the communities when out on my beat, I know some prefer to watch TV channels online which are in their own language and more familiar to them than British channels. As a result, a number of residents were potentially missing UK news and not seeing the important updates about the pandemic.
“To ensure everyone was getting the best possible information, I wanted to help educate residents about the rules here and thus encourage them to follow the guidelines.”
After some discussions with colleagues, PCSO Pankhurst came up with the idea of producing a multilingual leaflet, which summarised the guidance and could be handed out by local officers when needed to advise a person about staying safe.
His idea also attracted the support from staff at a local shop, who were happy to give their views on the messaging.
PCSO Pankhurst said: “Between them, the staff can speak 23 languages, so I wanted to ask for their views to ensure my translated statements were clear, regardless which version was read, and the meanings remained the same.
“The leaflet, which has been updated as restrictions change, has bitesize, easy-to-understand advice in English and the 15 other most commonly spoken languages in Cliftonville West.
“We have a duty to keep people safe and as a PCSO, it is important you find ways to ensure you are reaching out to as many people in your ward as you can.
“Some people have found the pandemic a very worrying time, so I hope having these leaflets available will help to reduce their anxiety.”
Whilst that is good thinking with producing a leaflet, there are many non-essential businesses staying open breaching the Covid-19 regulations that came in on Thursday. What is the point of people being told to stay home when shops are breaching regs? It would be better if they went round and checked why these shops are open still.
Name and shame them!
On Meridian news last night they showed some covidiot hairdresser vowing to stay open. He had been spoken to by a PCSO who no doubt was there to give him a gentle warning-but there was no follow up as to what the real police are actually going to do & how quickly about a guy standing there on television saying he isn’t breaking any laws & will do as he pleases.
15 other languages spoken in Cliftonville West. One might ask why there is seemingly zero attempt made to learn the language of the country they have chosen to reside in-to where English speaking people can converse with them.
Big generalization there, Steve. The younger immigrants may well be bilingual but older people are perhaps much less fluent in English. As these leaflets are about health and safety regulations and precautions, the most sensible thing is to produce a multilingual leaflet.
Exactly my point-why decide to live in a country & never learn enough of that language to get by? Especially when in something like this it means your health, your families health & others health could be seriously compromised, even causing them their lives-apparently for the last 8 odd months large swathes of people in Cliftonville West have had no idea what is happening & what is required of them, how many elsewhere in Thanet? How many elsewhere in the country? No problem with the leaflets, just disturbing there are so many people unable to it seems read or communicate without an interpreter.
Congratulations to PCSO Pankhurst for his initiative. Anything which is done to ensure everyone understands the rules is to be commended. Thank you.
And Steve – I agree with your comment – if living in this country they should learn English. But unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. I wonder how many Brits living in Spain and other countries learn those languages?
But there’s the big difference in that the vast majority of those living in spain etc are retirees and pay their own way , the owners of the “english” cafes, pubs and restaurants will be dealing with the countries authorities etc in spanish. Go to france and there’s very little provision for those that don’t speak french.
In addition english is widely spoken/used throughout the world, something that can hardly be said for the eastern european languages.
We hear endlessly of isolation and lack of integration amongst many communities that come to live here and the discrimination/deprivation some claim they live with. Yet an inability to speak english is going to severely limit your ability to integrate and access the full range of what th uk has to offer as well as leave you dependent on those who do speak both your language and english.
Finally there are many that arrive here who have no real interest inndoing anything other than living as they did inntheir home country whilst quite happy to access the health/education /benefits system etc. A london primary school last september had a reception intake of 58 children only two of whom spoke any english. Which rather shows the tparents attitude towards their childrens futures and towards the country they want to call home.
Only the arrogant British expect everyone to speak English. In Spain the British are only 10% Spanish speakers and they have to have their own Pubs, English breakfasts and Coronation Street.
Deport them back here.