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Regional Connections has a fresh vision for the Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) project with a new coordinator.

Elaine Burton will take over the position from former coordinator Vassan Aruljothi.

Regional Connections Executive Director Laurie Sawatzky explains Burton has worked with immigrants since 2007 and has been instrumental in the volunteer program since 2013.

"It's a positive change... we have the utmost confidence in Elaine," Sawatzky says, adding the transition has gone smoothly.

The local LIP is one of 76 projects across the country, only one of three in Manitoba.

Burton explains the project fosters communication between newcomers and community stakeholders to create a more welcoming environment.

"We get a group of newcomer voices that talk about what they need to be successful... as well as having conversations with leaders in the community."

Those leaders come from sectors impacted by immigration including health, education and policing.

"We want to hear how their programs have been impacted and what they need to better serve the newcomer population," Burton says.

In the coming weeks, Burton hopes to see each community create a council of stakeholders to funnel the information, "the lived experience through the newcomers... and what they need that is lacking in our area."

Burton says community leaders can then say, "We hear this... now let's take action to ensure a safe, welcoming community."

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