To encourage people to respond, and answer any questions they may have about the process, special census rehearsal teams will be taking to the streets of the borough this Saturday. The multi lingual teams will help to explain how important it is to achieve a high quality census in 2011.
The teams on the street follow a recent community workshop at the Bengali Community Trust centre, where members of the community found out about the rehearsal and were able to ask questions directly of census co-ordinators. Information in a range of languages was made available to all those who attended.
Talking about the workshop, Mr Mohammed Ali, manager of The Bengali Community Trust, said: “The census team carried out a workshop at our centre which was really informative and interesting. The team explained the benefits and positive impact it can have on our families and community.”
Newham is one of just three areas in England and Wales taking part in the 2009 Census Rehearsal. The rehearsal will road test the new online questionnaire and the postal delivery of paper questionnaires planned for the 2011 Census. The rehearsal will also help to test whether the community activities and census publicity do help all members of the community to access the information and advice they need to take part.
The census, carried out every ten years by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is an estimate of the population of England and Wales. The information given is confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside the ONS. The results are used to provide the information local authorities need to plan local community services such as transport and housing, and allocate funding.
ONS Census Director Glen Watson, said: “These activities in Newham are important because they give members of the community who may never have heard of the 2011 Census, or who may have difficulties in understanding the questionnaire, the help and information they need.
“By taking part in the rehearsal, people in Newham will help to make sure we get it right in 2011. So please fill in your questionnaire and help make the rehearsal a success.”