A sense of community

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08 Mar 2016

Hull is this year celebrating 10 years of refugee resettlement. To give a special insight into how resettlement in the city works, we've produced a series of blogs, following one family's experience of settling into their new home.

Hull is a relatively small city and we run into a lot of people that Refugee Council Project Worker Amilee knows.

Ninety refugees each year are resettled to Hull from countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia, where on going conflict makes returning home very tough.  Amilee has been working with refugee families since the second year of the Gateway Protection Programme.  Over the years she has supported dozens of families as their rebuild their lives in safety.

For the first 12 months in the UK, the Refugee Council in partnership with teams from the City Council support refugees every step of the way. From orientation in the city and their new home, to support with housing, health and banking, help finding work, finding schools for children and providing regular advice sessions on topics from local law to sexual health.

Our interpreter for the day, Badasso, was resettled to the UK through the Gateway Protection Programme in 2011. He tells me he had to wait only 9 years to be resettled. Some of his neighbours have been living in the camp for almost twenty-five years.

Badasso is now working for the NHS and is studying Community Development at the University of Sheffield. He also helps the Refugee Council as an interpreter for new refugees! He’s a shining example of the type of new life resettlement can offer and how much refugees give to their local community.

Throughout the day, we meet other resettled refugees who are now happily getting on with their new lives in Hull.

One lady we run into knows the new family. They had been neighbours in the camp. She is surprised and happy to see them.

“My children are so happy here. They go to school and that is the most important thing. They speak English so well now! They are teaching me!”

“When my youngest goes to school, I will go to college and keep learning English.”

She walks back with us and the two realise they are neighbours. It’s clear to see Gateway changes lives.

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