Without the right social, financial, legal and cultural support services, many people struggle to access legal services, find adequate social and emotional support and integrate into their local communities.

Islamic Relief are providing crucial support to empower these populations to ensure that men, women and children from refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant backgrounds can lead independent, happy, safe and fulfilling lives here in the UK.

Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre 

Empowering minority communities is at the heart of all of our work at Islamic Relief. Our partnership with Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CRMC) is another critical means of ensuring that vulnerable minorities get the care and support they need.

We’re supporting CRMC in their latest partnership with West Midlands Police and Fire Services and Coventry City Council which strives to help people from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) communities in and around Coventry who are out of work.

Offering first-hand information and work experience in a variety of roles, their project enables participants to:

  • Undertake a 12-week work experience placement in job roles within local public services
  • Get involved in tasks such as: analysing and monitoring data, making telephone calls to victims of crime, undertaking questionnaires in the community, helping the running of the office and supporting staff at local libraries
  • Take part in induction sessions to familiarise themselves with the local Public Sector including visiting a fire station and learning about how the local council supports the community
  • Attend training workshops in a range of areas including emergency first aid and conflict management

As a result of the programme and inclusive one-to-one dedicated mentoring sessions, we’re helping members of the BAMER communities in and around Coventry to in find work and gaining further qualifications to improve their future professional and economic prospects.

For single mothers such as Kesandu* who had arrived in the UK to escape family abuse but was abandoned by her partner 10 years later, the opportunities provided by CRMC have been invaluable. With two children, no paternal support and struggling with depression, Kesandu was supported by CRMC with her accommodation and visa problems and later became a volunteer at the centre before being granted leave to remain.

Having later joined the Public Services Employability Programme, in addition to attending mentoring sessions, Kesandu has gained work experience, increased in confidence and further developed her communication skills after working with vulnerable clients. In fact, following the programme, Kesandu was later offered a temporary job at CRMC’s partner centre and following several interviews, has identified areas for skill development.

At a later stage, Kesandu was then offered further employment for nine months to cover maternity leave and an increase in working hours. Kesandu enjoys working in reception for CRMC and feels that her life is back on track. She is now looking forward to being involved in a range of continuing professional development (CPD) courses as part of her current role – including a training course to become a health champion at CRMC. This is in addition to maintaining the role of first aider, following the training course she received in first aid during the initial CRMC itself. Masha’Allah – such great success!

Alhamdulillah, programmes such as these are invaluable in helping people to develop in self-esteem, gain crucial experience and enable men and women such as Kesandu to build a more prosperous professional future, insha’Allah!

*Name has been changed to protect the individual’s identity

Find out more

Islamic Relief works with a range of partners to support refugees here in the UK. Find out more about our other UK progammes below:

British Refugee Council: Trafficked Children Project

In 2016, 1,278 children were referred to the UK Government’s Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit. These children are often trafficked to the UK for the purposes of child sexual exploitation, forced labour and criminal activity such as begging, transporting drugs, cultivating cannabis, selling pirated DVDs and bag theft.

With little knowledge of their rights, sources of support, or what will happen to them, without specialist legal support, they struggle to gain legal assistance to say in the UK and remain safe and secure. To support such victims of child trafficking in London, we’ve teamed up with the British Refugee Council to support their work with children when they’re most vulnerable – having first escaped their traffickers.

Their Trafficked Children Project works by:

  • Recognising children as victims of trafficking – removing them from immediate danger
  • Ensuring they have the appropriate and safe accommodation and care – working to prevent them from being re-found/returned to traffickers

With an in-depth understanding of the legal entitlements and processes around trafficking, immigration, and local authority care – and years of experience working with vulnerable children – Refugee Council are able to provide a vital ‘interpretation service’ between the child and the professionals responsible for their wellbeing. Accompanying children to crucial appointments with Home Office officials, social workers, police and solicitors, the project is helping to remove children from harm and provide them with the services they are legally entitled to. We’re therefore incredibly happy to be supporting such vital work.

British Refugee Council: Advice and Integration

The vast majority of refugees in the UK have arrived here independently without government sponsorship. What’s more, without access to public funds, statutory services and employment, life can be even more challenging.

After waiting for anything from months to years for the outcome of their case, newly recognised refugees are given an immediate 28 day notice period for the termination of their Home Office support and accommodation. Language barriers, combined with a lack of understanding of rights, systems, and processes, inevitably, and even an address and National Insurance number, make this procedure incredibly complex and overwhelming. The absence of support networks mean that newly recognised refugees often face homelessness and financial destitution.

At Islamic Relief, we’re working alongside The British Refugee Council on two key projects to support communities here in the UK. The first of these projects is the Refugee Advice Project which helps newly granted refugees in London to make the crucial and challenging first steps to integrating in the UK. This includes:

  • Providing advice and support in accessing welfare support
  • Finding accommodation
  • Addressing ongoing health issues

This is crucial for new refugees as asylum seekers are not entitled access to medical care and many cannot access services without linguistic and practical assistance. We’re therefore hoping that vulnerable refugees can overcome these barriers to lead integrated, settled and stable lives in the UK.

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