More than 100 victims of modern slavery in Sunderland set to receive support from National Lottery Funding

A charity supporting victims of modern slavery in Sunderland have been given a boost thanks to a £239,000 grant.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 11:45 am
International Community Organisation of Sunderland have recieved funding from the National Lottery. Staff from left Alessia Di Meo, Maggie Hsiao, Michal Chantkowski and Monika Panufnik.

International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS) has received the funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to help its three-year Back in Control project.

The charity, which was created in 2009, exists to benefit the local community and ethnic minorities in Sunderland.

Its Back in Control project aims to support victims of modern slavery and workplace exploitation who are from ethnic minority groups in the city and surrounding area.

International Community Organisation of Sunderland manager Michal Chantkowski.

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The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery customers for good causes.

Funds will help the charity to help victims who have been abused to get back in control of their lives through offering free support employment rights, access to housing and welfare benefits, as well as support with accessing immigration advice and counselling.

Michal Chantkowski, ICOS development and service manager, said: “We are delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the vital work we do.

“Thanks to National Lottery customers, we will be able carry out our plans to broaden the range of opportunities available to victims of exploitation.

International Community Organisation of Sunderland have recieved funding from the National Lottery. Staff from left Alessia Di Meo, Maggie Hsiao, Michal Chantkowski and Monika Panufnik.

“From our experience of working with migrant people in Sunderland and the wider area, we know they often have limited access to support when mistreated at work, yet by virtue of being new arrivals, they are more likely to be exploited.

“Funding from the National Lottery Community Fund will support at least 140 individuals through one-to-one advice, advocacy and confidence building activities.

“Moreover, it will support organisations such as employers to improve their employment practices.

“We hope to transform Sunderland to an area where employment is fair for every employee.”

The charity said the project will help victims to learn new skills, that will improve their employment prospects, as well as boosting their confidence, self-belief and mental health well-being.

Alessia Di Meo, learning and sharing officer said: “Having worked for many years with vulnerable adults going through tough times, at ICOS we recognise the Back in Control project is steering the victim in the right direction.

“A crucial part is empowering victims is to give them a voice and allow them to make choices.”