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Japanese seek answers for poverty problems from the East End

PUBLISHED: 17:03 08 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:36 05 October 2010

Japanese government delegation visit's Whitechapel's City Gateway centre

Japanese government delegation visit's Whitechapel's City Gateway centre

A JAPANESE government delegation has visited an East End project to see how social enterprise’ can regenerate poor inner city districts. They looked in at the Gateway Media project at Whitechapel’s Montefiore Centre in Hanbury Street, run by the City Gateway charity

A JAPANESE government delegation has visited an East End project to see how 'social enterprise' can regenerate poor inner city districts.

They looked in at the Gateway Media project at Whitechapel's Montefiore Centre in Hanbury Street, run by the City Gateway charity.

"The delegation was able to see how many youngsters have had their lives transformed by the opportunities to get work experience and skills," explained Gateway Media's chief executive Yvette Elkana.

"They saw how 'social enterprise' has been a powerful tool in helping bring about economic change and development in an area like Tower Hamlets."

The delegation was sent to London by Japan's National Life Finance Corporation, one of the Tokyo government's long-established financial institutions which has been giving loans and consultations to small businesses since it was set up in 1949.

But 'social' businesses are just fledgling in Japan. The delegation has been learning from the 'social enterprise' sector in the UK to see how it helps community regeneration.

Gateway Media focuses on Tower Hamlets which, despite the wealthy Canary Wharf business and finance district, is one of the most impoverished areas in Western Europe with high unemployment and lower skill levels than any other part of the country, the charity points out.

It provides training for those outside education who are unemployed, offering work and apprenticeship placements in local firms.

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