Avenue Multicultural Centre

Avenue Multicultural Centre was created through a partnership of four organisations that all work to provide support and aid to refugees and asylum seekers.  Based in Southampton, the Centre acts as a weekly drop-in session where partner organisations and others offer services. Assistance includes advice, access to legal or health services for example, as well as practical help with navigating the asylum system, attending English classes, and finding accommodation, food or funds if people are destitute.  The Centre provides a friendly and welcoming space for people to make and meet friends, have some social interaction, and take part in a range of activities.

The Foundation has awarded funding in October 2018 over three years (£2,000 per annum) which is contributing towards the costs of the church venue hire for the drop-in.  Around 70 individuals attend each week, and benefit by having better access to services, improved confidence and feelings of being part of a supportive community.

Kent Refugee Help

This charity was initially established to provide support, advice and assistance to immigration detainees held at Dover Immigration Removal Centre.  Since that Centre’s closure in 2015, Kent Refugee Help’s focus moved to support people detained in Kent prisons and also HMP Pentonville in London.  It works with foreign national prisoners – some of the clients are in prison under immigration regulations, being deemed too high risk to be placed in a removal centre.  Others may be refugees,
former unaccompanied minors, EU migrants, those with long residence who came to the UK with their parents when they were young, and people who are undocumented or stateless.

Many of the people the charity works with have been detained indefinitely; they may have severe mental health issues, and some have made repeated suicide attempts as they felt so helpless.  Most are denied legal aid and have complicated legal issues.  The charity holds bi-monthly surgeries at two prisons, where it signposts and helps people access legal advice and representation. In doing so, it aims to improve the wellbeing of people detained.

At the October 2018 Trustee meeting, the Foundation offered a general contribution of £5,000 to the charity’s running costs.

www.kentrefugeehelp.org.uk

Burslem Jubilee Project

This Project operates a weekly drop-in session for around 50-60 refugees and asylum seekers, and also runs twice-weekly ESOL classes in Burslem, Stoke on Trent.  Volunteers are on hand to help with practical issues, offer friendship and opportunities to take part in social activities.  Other services attend the drop-in on an outreach basis to offer advice and support – such as Citizens’ Advice, housing teams, the local police, asylum health teams, legal bodies and others.  The ESOL classes partly focus on life skills and information about living in the UK, the local area, training and jobs and benefits around 100 people each year.

At the October 2018 meeting, Trustees awarded the Project a contribution of £3,000 towards its general running costs.  Outcomes of the work include improved communication skills and opportunities to access further education and employment, increased self-confidence, and reduced social isolation.

English +

English + is a charity working in Norwich which aims to help new communities settle into the local area.  It supports adult refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrant communities, and assists with providing English language classes, informal conversation classes, and an art and craft session, as well as support in any other ways.  This includes help with housing issues, volunteering opportunities, access to services, and signposting to other support agencies.  More than 100 people a week access its services each week, and benefit from better inclusion into the local community and increased opportunities.

In June 2018, English + was offered a grant from the Foundation totalling £4,005.  This will help to contribute towards the part-time coordinator and also help provide bus passes to students to enable them to access classes.

www.englishplus.org.uk

Nottingham Rainbow Project

This Project aims to befriend and support asylum seekers and refugees in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.  It operates from a community venue on three days each week, and offers various activities, projects, trips and events, and also helps with food parcels and specific support to people who are destitute.  A befriending scheme works on a one-to-one basis, as well as in groups, and the Project also offers drop-in sessions with English lessons at differing levels.

The Foundation has offered a grant of £3,290 towards its work supporting women.  The Project runs a women’s group which aims to be a welcoming, safe space for the women to connect, share experiences, and make friendships. The work will benefit women by increasing their confidence in having better understanding and knowledge of life in the UK, and through lessening their social isolation and feelings of loneliness. Women will also be able to access English lessons through Access, signposting or befriending.

www.nottinghamrainbowproject.org.uk

#nottsrainbow @nottsrainbow

Manchester Refugee Support Network

Manchester Refugee Support Network (MRSN) is a registered charity which has been running for 23 years. Its core purpose is to “help build strong and independent refugee community organisations to bring about a positive and lasting change in the lives of refugees and those seeking sanctuary, and help refugees experience a happy and successful integration into their new home country”. It is a membership organisation, supporting and working with more than 40 local refugee community organisations. MRSN frequently organises events and projects aimed at promoting and celebrating refugee cultures, and improving the mental and physical wellbeing of refugees themselves.

The charity also offers an advice service, with drop-in advice sessions on three days each week, and by appointment on the other two days. It supports around 550 clients a year. The advice worker and volunteers provide one-to-one holistic support, often in partnership with a range of organisations, to help clients navigate complex and bureaucratic systems, and to get the help they need.

The Foundation has offered funding of £9,935 towards the salary of the advice worker two days per week so that the advice provision can continue. Outcomes of the charity overall are that members will have increased confidence and employment options through building up their skills and learning; that they will be better informed through advice provision; and that generally, relations with local communities will be improved.

www.mrsn.org.uk

Swansea Trauma Support

Swansea Trauma Support is a relatively new social enterprise, which aims to provide practical and emotional support to women who are affected by various forms of trauma.  This includes harmful practices such as FGM, forced marriage and sexual violence and abuse.  It also aims to support women (often asylum seekers) who are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and various mental health issues particularly around pregnancy and after birth.

The Foundation has offered a grant of £500 to Swansea Trauma Support.  Funding will help cover transport costs to enable the attendance of women at a weekly peer support group.  The group offers a safe space for women to get together with others and support one another in an understanding and therapeutic environment.  The women do activities such as crafts, card-making, sewing etc, and the group offers a chance to improve English-language skills.  The group’s facilitator also helps advocate for the women, supporting them to make phone calls, write letters etc to the Home Office, doctors etc.  The grant was made in October 2017.

www.swanseatraumasupport.org.uk

 

Morton Hall Detainee Visitors Group

This Group operates as a network of trained volunteer visitors who offer emotional and practical support to detainees who are held at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre.  The Centre is located in a remote part of Lincolnshire and can hold up to 392 male detainees.  Many of those who are held are asylum seekers waiting to find out if they will be allowed to stay in the UK or returned to their country of origin.  The Visitors Group make regular visits to the Centre, and last year supported 30 individuals with 88 visits.

In October 2017, the Foundation agreed a grant of £5,000 towards increasing the capacity of the Visitors Group.  The Group had found that it did not have enough trained volunteers to support the increasing numbers of detainees asking for visits.  Funding will contribute towards employing a part-time worker who will recruit and train more volunteer visitors, effectively doubling the numbers of volunteers who are involved.  This will enable the charity to support more people detained at the Centre and also raise its profile in the area and gain additional local support.

www.mortonhallvisitors.org.uk

West Wiltshire Multi Faith Forum

The West Wiltshire Multi Faith Forum has three main aims – empowerment, engagement, and education – to allow people of different faiths or no faith to learn about each other and discuss issues which will help to remove perceived misunderstandings and inbuilt prejudices.  It holds a variety of activities and events, provides training, runs groups and gatherings and community projects.

In June 2017, the Allen Lane Foundation awarded funding over a two year period of £2,500 pa to the Forum.  The grant is towards costs of English classes which benefit migrants and refugees in around the Trowbridge area.  The provision of English classes aim to reduce isolation and stigma for individuals, and to improve community cohesion.

City of Sanctuary Bradford

 

This charity operates as a member of the national network of City of Sanctuary organisations across the UK, aiming to “make the city a place of welcome and belonging for all those seeing sanctuary”.  Set up initially nine years ago, the project encourages and enables sanctuary seekers to participate in local day-to-day like, and works with a range of organisations, groups and initiatives in and around Bradford to help them be more supportive, accessible and useful to sanctuary seekers.

The Foundation has made a grant of £7,000, which is contributing towards the costs of a new part-time paid post of project coordinator.  With only one other part-time worker, specifically funded on the ‘Sanctuary in Schools’ project, this new role will enable the charity to grow.  The aim is to better support and increase the network of groups; help more sanctuary seekers; to initiate more projects; and increase the awareness locally of refugee and asylum issues.

www.bradford.cityofsanctuary.org