We've all learnt how hard it is to be kept away from the people we love. Imagine not only losing everyone, but also everything and everywhere you have known.
This is what happens to our clients, unless we can help.
- Basics – hot meals, clothing, toiletries and emergency funds for people who otherwise can’t make it through the week, and an important social focus.
- Healthcare – we facilitate approx. 650 healthcare appointments p.a. working with the local Health Inclusion Team, enable access to other primary services, and make referrals to specialists for e.g. maternity care or counselling, helping people overcome fear of authorities and language barriers.
- Integration – our clients overcome isolation and trauma, and gain skills and confidence to live here independently: we help clients learn English, access education and gain employability skills. Our team creates a sense of belonging and community which enables traumatised, desperate and vulnerable clients to begin to trust, and engage with us in the complex process of starting to resolve issues such as homelessness, social isolation or separation from their children.
- Justice – proper advice and practical support to enforce clients’ rights including legal advice and support, accompanying clients to court hearings, and covering the cost of transport to attend immigration hearings in other UK cities.
We are not short of ideas – only resources. We operate at or beyond capacity as a matter of course. Demand for our services is increasing (up 12% year on year in 2019) as public funding is cut and other local charities close due to financial pressure – the Covid-19 recession will not help. With your help we could:
- Expand the provision of emergency relief and advisory services – with sufficient resources we could identify a broader network of partner organisations, increase the range and frequency of therapeutic services, access more professional support (e.g. immigration lawyers, counsellors), and increase the number of centres and advice sessions.
- Find new ways to safely continue our therapeutic and educational work – a key part of what we do is to help people overcome trauma and build new lives.
- Continue our existing services beyond the crisis - We have a dedicated team of 5 volunteers who, alongside the Director, apply for grant funding year-round. But grants are often one-off, short term and restricted to specific projects. This means that we face a constant battle to secure funding for our existing services.
- Relieve the pressure on staff and volunteers – demand for our service has been growing, and volunteers and staff are reporting increasing pressure. We’d love to proactively recruit and train more staff and volunteers. We could improve our systems and processes to make record keeping and information sharing easier and more efficient. We’d also like to create space for more team support activities so that we can do more whilst also making sure that our volunteers and staff are working to their best and safely.
- Make longer term plans – Because grants are often one-off, short term and restricted to specific projects, it is difficult for us to make medium to long-term plans, for example with regard to premises, staffing, programming and partnerships. We could improve our planning and efficiency with resources to proactively seek out larger, longer-term funding relationships.
- Increase our community engagement – We have a website, facebook, twitter, instagram, newsletter and have leafleted in the local area. We would like to build a concerted community engagement programme including more personal interaction to increase awareness of our service, encourage new volunteers, and increase regular donations from the community through our “Friends” scheme.
If you are able to support us there will be more than a little "thank you" in it for you. We've sourced some fantastic rewards for donations from Fair Trade, Refugee owned and Refugee staffed businesses, as well as from our Emmy winning Patron, Riz Ahmed. Please do take a look!
Even before the current emergency many of our clients were in a desperate state: homeless, destitute, awaiting benefits decisions/payments or with no recourse to public funds, tolerating abusive relationships to have housing and food. The emergency has closed or delayed the services they need to survive. Many are unable to work, struggling to access benefits or housing, unable to pay bills or feed themselves/their families, stuck in substandard housing or on the street, poorly protected from coronavirus, and many are alone.
We are changing how we work. Our 3 day-centres closed due to Covid-19, and we have opened a front-line service offering emergency relief packages including basics like food, nappies and toiletries for appointment-only pick-up where clients are able, or delivery for our most vulnerable clients. We have also restarted our advice services by phone.
Our amazing staff and volunteers were reassigned to working from home, identifying and communicating with priority clients, networking with partner organisations to work out what services are still available and what can be co-delivered, communicating with funders, donors and volunteers, collecting food and other donations. We are continually investigating what services we can legally and safely reopen during the emergency period.