Good practice in social care for refugees and asylum seekers
Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network (LASSN) Open
The Befriending Project provides the opportunity for isolated asylum seekers and refugees to forge a relationship with a supportive adult for a period of six to 12 months. Volunteer befrienders are matched with clients for regular visits. The aim is to familiarise people with Leeds, help them integrate into the local community, gain access to other services and help alleviate the emotional stress caused by past trauma and the asylum process.
The English at Home Project matches volunteer tutors one-to-one, (Tuition in the home is offered for those for whom there are barriers to accessing ESOL classes in the community. Asylum-seeking women often cannot leave home due to cultural barriers and childcare responsibilities, and do not have the finances to make formal childcare arrangements. The aim is to help access mainstream services through improving their level of English, providing a minimum level of advocacy and interpreting and orientation into the UK.
The Grace Hosting Project aims to support the many refugees and asylum seekers who experience homelessness at some point during their asylum claim. Grace Hosting volunteers provide a hot meal and a bed for the night to people who have nowhere else to turn.
LASSN Ebor Court, Westgate, Leeds LS1 4ND
Tel: 0113 373 1759
Multi-agency for refugee integration in Manchester (MARIM) Open
MARIM was created to support MAF (Multi-Agency Forum), local communities and the wide range of organisations engaged in working with asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants to:
- Engage in consultation with key organisations that provide services for asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers and the Roma, to identify areas for improvement around access to and delivery of services.
- Support development of partnerships among service providers to facilitate the improvement of services in areas where gaps or potential improvements to those services have been identified.
- Engage with and inform citywide strategic planning to ensure that plans consider the needs of refugees and asylum seekers.
- Disseminate information about key changes in legislation and policy with regard to the migrant population.
- Raise awareness of the benefits of a multi-cultural society and promote good community relations in Manchester
MARIM is a unique provision within Manchester City Council with links and networks covering over 800 organisations across both Greater Manchester and the North West. It offers a diverse range of services including: facilitating and delivering multi agency forums at both a local and citywide level; providing support to organisations to ensure that they are able to respond to changing demands placed upon them and, disseminating key information via its extensive email networks.
MARIM ensures that agencies are able to respond effectively to changes in demand for their services caused by migration. Recent examples of the work that MARIM has undertaken includes organising training for service providers on communication skills with people for whom English is not first their language, translation and interpreting services, welfare reform and on domestic violence.
MARIM (Multi-Agency Refugee Integration in Manchester), Directorate for Families, Health and Wellbeing Manchester City Council
Victoria Mill, 2nd Floor Lower Vickers Street, Miles Platting, Manchester M40 7LH
Tel. 0161234 5590
Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum (MRCF), Kensington and Chelsea Open
The Forum is a user-led, community forum working to promote the rights of migrants and refugees in London. The Forum is a registered charity with membership consisting of over 40 migrant and refugee organisations.
The Forum’s work addresses all aspects of the social exclusion of migrants and refugees with the aim of meaningful integration. It provides information, advice and support to individuals and community organisations, conducts research and works in partnership to influence policy and facilitate better understanding of migrants’ needs and barriers to inclusion and integration.
The organisation also works in partnership with the statutory sector to ensure access to services, opportunities and to advocate and develop additional support based on the needs of the local migrant and refugee communities. For example, The Forum runs mentoring programme for isolated migrants and refugees with mental health problems who are often referred by NHS providers. Mentoring is intensive and practical (group activities and ESOL classes) and it is a lifeline for vulnerable people while they are waiting to receive treatment.
NRPF (No Recourse to Public Funds) network Open
Islington Council initiated the development of the NRPF network in 2006. It is a network of local authorities focusing on the statutory response to destitute people from abroad with NRPF. The network works to share information and good practice among local authorities and other agencies; it works with government departments to raise the practical and policy issues of NRPF and facilitates reimbursement for local authorities of the costs of providing support to people with NRPF. The network develops strategic responses to managing the issue of NRPF and undertakes activities at a practice, policy and strategic level by providing guidance and information on service provision, legal obligations and entitlement to services, developments in case law, research and policy. The network researches and monitors the scale of the issue and the associated costs to local authorities and other agencies, facilitating information-sharing and providing training for local authorities.
RASA (Refugee and Asylum Seeker Advocacy), Wakefield Open
RASA provides interpreting, advocacy and information services for refugees and asylum seekers who are resident in the Wakefield district. RASA was established in 2001 as a result of local authority funding from the European Integration Fund, and was supported by this means until 2005. The aim had always been to make RASA self-funding, and this was achieved through Big Lottery Fund funding. The aims of RASA are to:
- provide a focus for support to enable refugees and asylum seekers to access the basic services to ensure their health, wellbeing and safety
- provide advocacy to build people’s confidence to support themselves and promote their quality of life
- promote integration into mainstream society
- Provide a community focus where refugees from different cultures can meet to find friendship and share experiences.
Asylum seekers and refugees may be signposted to RASA from the Wakefield ‘One-stop shop’, a service for residents of Wakefield where they can access information and services. RASA refers clients to social services as appropriate, if specific needs are identified.
Further informationRASA 13 Upper York Street Wakefield West Yorkshire WF1 3LQ
Tel: 01924 368855
Stockport Interpreting Unit (SIU) - Ethnic Diversity Service Open
Stockport Council’s Ethnic Diversity Service (EDS) supports refugees and asylum seekers by providing specialist English language teachers, bilingual teaching assistants and bilingual community learning mentors in schools and children’s centres. In addition to its support in educational settings, the Ethnic Diversity Service operates Stockport Interpreting Unit (SIU) which supplies interpreters to statutory and non-statutory organisations. EDS works in partnership with a range of practitioners from different sectors and community groups to help ensure that the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Stockport are met, and is a key partner in the Gateway Protection Programme.
EDS works closely with the Council’s Social Care Team, and has strong links with organisations that work with asylum seekers and refugees. Stockport Interpreting Unit, set up in 1986, plays an essential part in helping refugees and asylum seekers to access public services and integrate into the community. SIU runs an accredited interpreter training programme, and provides highly skilled interpreters for face-to-face and telephone interpreting in a range of settings such as health, education, housing, local government and legal. All interpreters are trained in safeguarding.
SIU will supply interpreters to any organisation in Stockport or its surrounding areas. There is a charge for services, but prices are competitive and the service is committed to delivering a high-quality service.
EDS offers a limited signposting service on behalf of Stockport Council for residents who are speakers of other languages.
Students and Refugees Together (START), Plymouth Open
START was developed as a response to local need and concerns about isolation and racism in the local area. START’s mission is to work in partnership with families, individuals and organisations to facilitate the transition of refugees from people in need to self-reliant contributors to their local communities. START recognises the skills and experience asylum seekers and refugees bring to Plymouth and START services include individual casework, a fortnightly ‘cultural kitchen’, an allotment, a women-only sewing group and other activities as needed.
Originating from an unfunded pilot, collaboration was established with the University of Plymouth which allowed the skills of students from social work and other backgrounds, to be used safely to support refugees, as part of their professional training. From these beginnings START has developed into a funded, staffed service as well as being a registered charity. They are a member of the Advice Transition consortium and the lead partner in the Refugee Housing Support Service (RHSS), as well as having a range of informal partnerships. As a learning organisation, START uniquely utilises the student placement as a resource which, together with the strengths and skills of people themselves, works out what is needed and how to achieve it. As well as providing advocacy and assisting refugees to settle within a new community or to move to new geographical locations of their choice, START seeks to advance the education of social work students in training by providing learning experiences which contribute to their personal and professional development.
Students offer a holistic, needs-led service to refugee families and individuals by:
- making assessments of the complex difficulties experienced by multi-generational families and individuals
- giving information and practical support to help them to access existing services and to integrate into the community
- identifying barriers in existing agency practice to this group
- addressing those barriers and reporting on the need for policy and procedural change
- working constructively with other resources in the city and nationally to promote cost-effective and integrated services.
START uses a ‘practice based learning’ approach, encouraging students to explore possibilities for themselves, and use their own initiative to find solutions for the needs of asylum seekers and refugees. The students are supervised and supported by qualified staff, who has received training in student support.
Individual students, programme panels and external examiners give feedback on the suitability of START as a placement for students. Work has been undertaken to produce video statements about student experiences of working for START for the website. An externally conducted service evaluation can also be found on the website.
START Unit 4 HQ Building, 237 Union Street Plymouth PL1 3HQ
Tel: 01752 255200
UASC Team, Royal Borough of Kingston Open
In the Royal Borough of Kingston the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) team provides a looked after and leaving care service to young people up until the age of 21 (24 if in education or training in compliance with the agreed pathway plan). All unaccompanied asylum seeking children under the age of 18 are ‘looked after’, under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989. Once reaching age 18 they can receive advice and support services under the Children Leaving Care Act 2000. The team consists of a manager, four social workers, two personal advisors and business support/administration and provides:
- A stable specialist team to work with the young people to identify and provide flexible support in response to their needs
- Good quality accommodation to young people with key work support, which is seen as essential to emotional and physical wellbeing
- Activities for young people over the school/college holiday period, using proactive use of grant funding. These activities include enrolling young people into English classes, activities such as ice skating, trips to the cinema and to attractions such as the London Eye or cultural events.
The team works in partnership with young people and views careful planning over a period of time and at critical transition points as essential. Young people’s care is reviewed regularly and young people encouraged to give feedback through a document called ‘Have your say’. The team provides ongoing support, including financial support as laid out in a policy for every care leaver.
The team is well linked with a range of organisations, particularly:
- benefit agencies to enable the young people to access appropriate benefits and support grants
- immigration Services
- housing services and accommodation providers
- health services (developing work in relation to emotional well-being, physical and sexual health
- education, including the Refugee Education Service, colleges and university
- leisure providers
UASC Team Learning and Children’s Services
1st Floor Guildhall 2 Kingston upon Thames KT1 1EU
Tel: 020 8547 5234
West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership (WMSMP) Open
WMSMP runs the following training course:
ASIRT - Birmingham - Training on access and entitlement to health care
‘Understanding local migrant populations and their access and entitlement to health care’
Immigration status and the reasons for migration to the UK play an increasing role in affecting individuals’ rights and entitlements to health and social care. Guidance on entitlement to health care is not always clear and health professionals may struggle to understand the rules relating to GP registration and access to primary and secondary care for migrants.
Reports at a national and local level have highlighted the difficulties some new migrants have in registering with a GP practice and accessing other health services which they require. This course was developed in response to the need for training on migration and health for health and social care professionals identified within the West Midlands.
It was originally developed by Dave Newall (West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership), in conjunction with colleagues from health and voluntary sector with extensive experience working with asylum seekers and new migrant communities. The course is now delivered by ASIRT, a local charity that provides free advice and advocacy to migrants in the West Midlands on immigration, asylum and related human rights matters. It is has received accreditation from the Learning for Public Health network and has been delivered to a number of primary care trusts, CCGs and voluntary sector organisations in the West Midlands since it was piloted in 2011.
Aim: The course aims to increase participants’ understanding of the scale and types of migration, the effect this has on entitlements to health and social welfare and the barriers migrants may face in accessing health service. The course covers:
- An overview of migrant populations at a local level
- Understanding who the new migrants are, their reasons for coming to the UK and their rights and entitlements
- Attitudes to migrants – community and professional perspectives
- Entitlements to health care & social care and current Department of Health guidance
- Exploring barriers to accessing health for new migrants
- Developing solution to barriers which new migrants and health professionals may face
- Case studies which enable participants to explore access, rights and entitlements of specific migrant groups.
On completion participants will:
- Understand the complexity of migration and its impact at a local level.
- Have explored their own and the wider community’s attitudes to migration.
- Be able to describe a range of different migratory routes and the effect on entitlement to health and social care.
- Be able to understand and respond appropriately to barriers new migrants may have to accessing health services in the area.
The course is interactive and designed to assist staff to reflect on their current practice; to consider how learning from the session will be applied in the workplace; and change the way they might work with patients from migrant backgrounds. It is aimed at health and social care professionals working in a frontline capacity with new migrants or who have responsibility for patient registration.
Dave Stamp – Project Manager ASIRT 0121 233 4295, email:firstname.lastname@example.org
or Dave Newall 07514486515