Census help available for the area’s migrant workers

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MIGRANT workers in South Holland are being targeted to make sure they fill out the 2011 census.

A team of officers has been working with landlords, employers, churches and community groups to ensure that the district’s foreign-speaking population are aware of the requirement to fill in the form.

And it is hoped that the effort to get the message across will prevent anyone falling foul of the law and facing a fine of up to £1,000.

Colin Davison, census area manager for South Lincolnshire, said: “Migrant workers do not want to get into trouble so we have been emphasising that it is a legal requirement to fill out the census and working with landlords and community leaders to ensure they have the help they need to do it.

“This has included having copies of the form available in other languages, such as Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish as a reference, even though everyone must fill out the English version of the census.

“It is important because the local council needs to know how many migrant workers are in the area so services can be targeted appropriately.”

It is hoped that the data collected from the ten-yearly questionnaire will provide valuable information to shape services offered by local councils which reflect the needs of the whole population.

So far a large number of South Holland residents have been taking advantage of the ability to fill out the census online for the first time.

But help is at hand for anyone who is still struggling to complete the survey before the April 6 deadline.

Drop-in sessions have been organised in a number of villages, including Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge, while a special helpline is available on 0300 0201 101 for anyone needing extra help.

After the deadline a team of 40 collectors will start the task of chasing up anyone who still hasn’t filled in their census, making appointments to visit them at home.

Mr Davison said: “We have already had a good level of return from the south Lincolnshire area, which is great.

“But after the deadline the central computer will feed back to us addresses where we haven’t had a census from and the collectors will contact them to ask if they can help.

“They will stress how important it is to fill in the census but if anyone outright refuses to do so we have a legal team who can take action.

“However, that is a last resort so we want to inform people that it is in everyone’s best interests to fill out the census and let them know that we can help if they are having any difficulties with filling it in.”