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Basingstoke summer school launches first exchange project
A SUMMER school was one of the first projects to run from a new base for a Basingstoke charity.
Students from Raeli School in Sicily, Italy, visited the town on a trip paid for partly by the EU.
The 32 students spent three weeks at Chute House, which is now managed by Basingstoke Multicultural Forum. The charity provided the space to Guildhall Academy, which was working in partnership with Raeli School, as part of the EU-funded scheme Lifelong Learning.
The students, aged 16 and 17, visited Windsor Castle, Portsmouth Naval Docks, Jane Austen Museum, Bath, Salisbury and Stonehenge during their stay.
They are now looking to repay the hospitality by hosting a programme of exchange trips with teenagers from Basingstoke.
The Basingstoke Multicultural Forum hopes the summer school is the first of many projects to run at Chute House.
The forum has called its new base Mosaic Centre for Diversity, Learning and Development, and aims to help integrate those of an ethnic minority into the town.
Radhia Tarafder, chief executive of the forum, said: “We need to really address some of the issues that are quite pressing for this community and now we have a place to run from.
“The biggest issue for our community is Basingstoke has changed and there are more people from minority communities. We want to make sure that services reflect that change and that those people who are here are engaged and getting jobs that they are qualified for and that they want to do.”
English language courses will run at the Mosaic Centre, which is funded partly by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, but mainly relies on volunteers to operate.