On Wednesday 21st June with the Refugee Crisis still continuing, Nottingham Quakers hosted a free public event to explore what work people and organisations are doing to support refugees. We invited representatives from various organisations who work supporting refugees. They attended to explain what work they do, the challenges they face and what we in Nottingham can do to help.
We had representation from:
Nottingham Arimathea Trust – A local charity who provides housing and support for people who have had their first claim for asylum refused.
Quaker Peace and Social Witness – Rooted in the convictions of Peace, Justice, Equality and Community; Quakers across Britain are working to welcome people seeking sanctuary.
ShareWear – a local charity involved in offering free clothing and bedding to those in crisis.
The Rainbow Project – a non-profit organisation working in partnership with the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham set up in 2001 to support to asylum-seekers and refugees in the Nottingham area.
Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity – part of a grassroots movement working to provide aid and support to refugees. Since they started out in August 2015 they have been involved in several convoys delivering vital aid to refugee camps in Europe.
Student Action for Refugees (STAR) – a national charity of 26,000 students who volunteer, campaign, fundraise and educate people on matters around refugees and asylum seekers. In Nottingham they run conversation classes for refugees and asylum seekers.
The British Red Cross – who amongst other services run a refugee support service within the city.
Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum – is an independent voluntary organisation and registered charity set up in 2000 to work with and for refugees and asylum seekers in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire offering practical advice, information, support and friendship.
Host Nottingham – a local organisation who aims to provide a referral into accommodation for destitute asylum seekers. They request hosts to provide basic accommodation for a destitute asylum seeker from a week to three months.
Representation from the City Council on Community Cohesion and Refugee Support.
There was also a chance to see a copy of “I Welcome: an Amnesty International & Magnum Photos exhibition“.
During the evening the representatives gave a short talk on what they do and highlighted their current challenges. Afterwards the real work began as everyone had the opportunity to discuss options for facing these challenges together. Organisations and individuals were able to start forging connections moving towards greater impact and we were able to secure funding for teaching Refugees and Asylum Seekers English! Since Nottingham Quakers agreed to becoming a Sanctuary Meeting in August we will all be able to come together to help further support events like these.
Challenges and How People Can Help
- Sharewear – partners to distribute
- Housing space
- Legal representation
- Complex cases needing specialised provision
- Hate Crime / Vulnerability
- Varying levels of volunteers – seasonal / linked to term times.
How people can help
- Volunteering Placements
- Contacts – Landlords
- Mentors / Befrienders
- Housing Volunteers
- English Teaching / Conversations
- Supporting Food Banks
- Foster Care Placements
- Tuesday Night Conversational English Classes
- Resources for teaching
- Space to do work
- Help to enable women to access support
- Places to signpost support
- HOST – week – 3 month refugee placement in your home
- Bringing organisations (with capacity) together.