Since the launch of ‘Together in Wrexham’ in 2008, Wrexham Council has maintained close working relationships with communities from all over the world – with ties with Portugal formally strengthened yesterday.
Drawn to the area by employment opportunities, as well as community based support for equality and diversity, Wrexham now has over 2,000 Portuguese nationals, many of whom reside in the Hightown area.
In light of this, the Portuguese Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs approached Wrexham Council to formally agree a ‘Cooperation Protocol’, which was yesterday approved for signing by the Executive Board of Wrexham Council.
The protocol is for one year and doesn’t require any financial commitment from Wrexham Council, but in signing this agreement, the local authority will now receive ongoing commitment and support from the Consulate General of Portugal in Manchester.
Councillors were told in the report that it will assist Wrexham Council in working with the Portuguese community to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty, taking forward the values and ambition of ‘Together in Wrexham’ and delivering the principles of ‘integration’, ‘collaboration’ and ‘involvement’ as described in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015.
Welcoming the report, Cllr Bob Dutton said: “This authority and its predecessors have had a great deal to do with international relations. The people of Wrexham do look outside their borders, do take an interest in what is going on elsewhere and aim to ensure that we’ve got first class relations, as far as we’re able, with all parts of the world.
“The protocol won’t be too testing from a financial perspective but it will certainly emphasise our willingness and wish to have a good relationship with people who come to live and stay in this part of the world.”
Cllr Alun Jenkins also commented: “My ward (Offa) is probably one of the most diverse in the whole of the County Borough so I very much welcome the contents of this Portuguese protocol.”
He added: “The Polish community is an even larger community in Wrexham and I give every encouragement for other protocols being worked on.
In response, Cllr Hugh Jones replied: “Wrexham has a very proud history of welcoming residents from a wide range of communities. As you’ll see, this is an approach that was made to us by the Portuguese government, rather than an initiative on our behalf and obviously we would welcome any similar approach that was made to us by any other community or any other official government.
Cllr Jenkins made a further point: “‘Together in Wrexham’ was launched quite a long time ago and was a very significant step forward. Perhaps we could go through a relaunch of that just to bring it out in the open again and bring it to peoples’ minds. It was such a major step forward, that I don’t want it to be lost.”
Cllr Jones responded by saying: “I will certainly take on board what you say about ‘Together in Wrexham’. I think we need an update report which will highlight the progress that we are making and the grants that we are giving.”
The Cooperation Protocol will be signed at a formal ceremony in Wrexham by the Mayor of Wrexham on behalf of the Council and a representative of the Portuguese Government at a future date.