Celebrating Refugee Week’s 20th Anniversary: A look into how we support new arrivals in the UK

19 Jun 2018

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Refugee week has been celebrated for 20 years. It is one of the UK’s largest festivals that looks at the contribution of refugees and aims to promote understanding of why people seek sanctuary. This year contributors are asking for people to do one of the “20 Simple Acts” to help change the way we see new arrivals in our society.

As an interpreting and language agency we provide interpreters for refugees and asylum seekers who need help understanding and to be understood. Alongside this, as a social enterprise we actively look to fund projects aimed at helping them settle into the UK. We are fortunate to have a number of refugees that work with us as interpreters too, mainly those who speak Arabic, Swahili, Tigrinya and Somali. Read more on some of the fantastic organisations and charities we work with that support these new arrivals, ways in which we give back and our upcoming social return plans.

6 Organisations we provide interpreters and document translations to

  1. Red Cross who offer help to those with urgent needs, this ranges from food parcels, vouchers, cash, clothes, toiletries plus much more;
  2. Bevan Healthcare CIC, a fellow social enterprise based in Bradford who are committed to helping people, including refugees and those seeking asylum to access the healthcare they need;
  3. Shelter - based in Sheffield this charity offers a wide range of advice on all housing and homelessness issues;
  4. Homeless and New Arrivals based in Bradford are a specialist outreach team working with homeless people, asylum seekers and refugees paying attention to help these people access mainstream services;
  5. Freedom from Torture, a charity who provide counselling, group therapy and ongoing support to survivors of torture and provide medical assessments to support survivors’ asylum claims;
  6. Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre is a specialist sexual violence service that provides support to all survivors of rape and sexual abuse in the city.

Our part in “20 Simple Steps Acts” for refugee week

“Get Together” that’s one of the simple acts the refugee week website lists. In partnership with the Country Trust, a national charity that aims to educate children from inner city areas about the countryside, Enable2 funded several farm trips for new arrivals to Bradford. They had ties and were registered with Bradford Action for Refugees and Bevan Healthcare CIC. Families were invited to a farm in Rimington; the aim the day out was to provide a safe, enjoyable day in which the families could learn about organic food, how farms are run in the UK and how to make ice cream. Another important aspect of the trips is that there was more than one family invited as well as staff from all three organisations. It is vital that during dark times we see we are not alone, families were able to network with one another as well as getting to know staff members through the interpreters that Enable2 provided. The success of the trips saw them recognise on BBC’s Countryfile this year.

“Look to the Future” is another simple act listed on the refugee website and due to the positive impact the trips had on the families we are rolling out the farm visit programme to refugees in Sheffield and Norfolk, visiting other farms local to them. We are also planning a recruitment event in Sheffield for refugees with hopes of welcoming some of them to our interpreting team.

From Middle Eastern and Greek Baclava to Syrian Barazek Cookies “Baking a Cake” is another simple act and if there is one thing that brightens up a dull day- it’s a sweet treat. Enable2’s Social Return team wanted to find a project to support for refugee week, so they contacted Bradford Action for Refugees to see what help they needed. We are funding the catering for a picnic at St Stephen’s Church on Wednesday 20th June. This will be a family picnic for new arrivals to come together, enjoy food and socialise. The local community are also invited making this a great get together style lunch.

Founder and Managing Director at Enable2 Liz Weatherill commented on the importance of social return in Bradford “As a Social Enterprise providing interpreting services in Bradford, it is vital that organisations who have a means to do so, look to transform the communities they work in.

The news is constantly reporting on stories of people fleeing war torn countries and settling in our diverse city.  Enable2’s core business is based around support, it is important that our social return reflects this.  The projects we have funded for refugees aim to make a difference to their lives and give them a chance to escape from the everyday pressures of society. It is wonderful that our initiatives are now expanding to other areas of the UK.”

What stands out here is that by doing good this creates more good. Through clients such as Red Cross and Freedom from Torture using our interpreting and document translation services, as a social enterprise, we are able to support refugees, asylum seekers and other groups with the projects we fund.

One final simple act to mention is to “Spread the Word”. This is another way that together we can promote an understanding across society of why people seek sanctuary. If you like what you’ve read in this blog, hit share to start your 20 Simple Acts movement. Don’t forget you can stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.