West End Refugee Service

Spreading the word: WERS education, training and awareness-raising programme

For many years WERS has given talks on asylum issues both locally and regionally to dispel some of the prevalent myths about asylum seekers.

Accurate information about asylum issues is still thin on the ground. People from all backgrounds tell WERShow little they know about the circumstances that lead to a person being forced to leave their home country. Little is also known about the asylum process in the UK and how it affects the men, women and children whilst they await the outcome of their claim. This ignorance may result in negative attitudes, prejudice and racial harassment.

During 2011-2012, around 1500 people of all ages heard a teaching session, a talk or attended a training session delivered by one of WERS’ refugee staff or the Project Director.

Last year WERS worked in 6 secondary schools in the region and led sessions for students at both Newcastle and Northumbria universities in a range of different subject areas including social work, geography, medicine, psychological therapies and housing and planning.

Hearing first-hand the stories of individual human beings, of families torn apart by violence, has proved to be an extremely effective way of changing negative opinions and viewpoints.

‘My views and opinions regarding refugees have been changed dramatically and I am grateful to Ali for sharing his remarkable story with us.’ (Social work student, Northumbria University)

More refugees are settling in the city out of choice when they have been granted leave to remain in the UK – a clear sign that local people are becoming generally more welcoming to the new communities. There is a long way to go, however, and WERS is playing an important part in spreading the word.

For more information : www.wers.org.uk

Children’s Society

SMART (Supporting Migrants, Asylum- Seekers and Refugees Together)

We work with migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children, young people and families in Newcastle. We also offer training to partner agencies that support these young people and their families.

New to Newcastle is a weekly, Monday-morning drop-in session providing a chance for families to access our project workers. We offer interpreter support, and a range of other helpful facilities and services.

Kumasi is a weekly, Thursday-evening drop in session offering a safe environment for young asylum-seekers aged 14 or older to meet and participate in a wide range of workshops and social activities.

Our other services include:

Social activities – We run a rolling programme of social activities to prevent isolation, encourage family activities, promote orientation skills and enhance diversity and cohesion.

Individual targeted support – Our project workers offer practical, emotional and skills based support to families and individual young people so children stay safe, enjoy a good childhood and have increased well-being.

Group work – We facilitate programmes of group work when we identify common issues affecting service users. This group work includes work with young migrants in schools and colleges.

Training – We also deliver a rolling programme of support workshops for partner agencies to access.

For more information: http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/helping-children/our-
programmes/young-refugees/help-and-hope

JET – Jobs. Education. Training

JET’s aim is to enable local people from the Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic communities including asylum seekers and refugees to overcome disadvantage and fulfil their potential by accessing training opportunities, improving skills, seeking employment and integrating in their community.

Culture Kitchen

This is one of JET’s partnership programmes and is delivered in partnership with Culture Connect. It is a multi-cultural cooking project organised and delivered by volunteers from around the world from the refugee, asylum seeking and overall migrant community in Tyneside.

The project puts on events and activities around multi-cultural cuisine with the aim to offer the local community with opportunities to find out about the various cultures found in the area and their customs and traditions, as a means to cultural understanding and acceptance and to enhance integration.

CULTURE CONNECT is a newly established charitable organisation, which aims to improve the wellbeing, cultural integration and skill development of people seeking asylum, people who are refugees and the overall migrant community on Tyneside. This is achieved through multicultural, volunteer-led projects and events that provide constructive and practical cultural volunteering opportunities. These events are intended to help the public find out about different cultures and the issues surrounding seeking asylum and being a refugee in the UK, promoting cultural understanding, respect and an open dialogue.

For more information: http://www.jetnorth.org.uk/

The British Red Cross

The British Red Cross in Newcastle seeks to complement the work of other organisations helping asylum seekers and refugees. We provide short-term cash support, advice and guidance. Our International Tracing and Message service helps put service users in touch with their families when they become seperated by conflict or disaster.

For more information telephone 0191 273 7961

Regional Refugee Forum North East

We are an independent membership organisation for the region’s Refugee and Asylum seeker led community groups. Many refugees were themselves community activists before having to flee their country, and they have applied that commitment here. Each of our 48 active groups – from the Middle East, South East Asia, eastern Europe and Africa – are working hard to support those who live through the trauma of fleeing their country, and to support integration in a variety of ways. Their vision is for refugees to be full and active members of the regional community, contributing and participating in its daily life while the region is their home. They work together to gather evidence from across the membership on what could work better to support integration, and produce their Collective Voice for policy makers and service providers to hear. They also join their voice to national campaigns to end destitution and child poverty through restoring permission to work and support themselves rather than be forced to depend on government support or be left destitute. The Forum ran the Let us Work Campaign in the region, and is a supporter of the national Still Human Still Here campaign http://stillhumanstillhere.wordpress.com/