RCO e-news 1st March 2010 - Refugee Council
March 4, 2011

RCO e-news 1st March 2010

Special announcement: Don’t let cuts devastate refugee service

We need your help today to stop cuts to vital services for refugees. The Refugee Council provides free advice and support services for vulnerable people who have nowhere else to turn, but we rely on government funding to do this. The government is proposing to cut this funding by over 60% from 1 April 2011. Funding for the work we do to help refugees integrate into our society will end completely in
September. Tell your MP that cuts to these services must be stopped.  
Refugee Council says the UK government must ensure our doors remain open to those in need of protection

In response to new Home Office asylum and immigration figures for 2010 published today, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “Although the number of people applying for asylum has fallen over the last year, the fact remains that human rights abuses are continuing around the world, as is particularly evident in recent events in Libya. The UK government must therefore ensure that our doors remain open to all those in need of protection and a place of safety, and that we have the ability to support them once they arrive here’.  Read the full Refugee Council response here.

Lives in the Balance: the quality of immigration legal advice given to separated children seeking asylum.

The Refugee Council has published a new report on research conducted at the Refugee Council in 2010. The research was conducted through interviews with our specialist Children’s Advisers and some of the children with whom we work. Although there are examples of excellent work, there are many examples of poor practice, resulting in many children not getting the best possible help in the asylum application process. Our report makes a number of recommendations, including the provision of training for legal representatives who want to work with children. Read the report here.
Something to smile about: Promoting and supporting the educational and recreational needs of refugee children

Refugee children have the same rights to education as other children in Britain by law. But according to the Refugee Council report, Something to smile about, discriminatory and inconsistent schools admissions policies, lengthy waiting times to access college places, and confusion over financial support are among factors that leave children who are refugees or asylum seekers struggling to receive the education they are entitled to.

 Locality wins bid to deliver and train community organisers

Locality – the new organisation formed by the merger of the Development Trusts Association and bassac – has been picked as the delivery partner for the government’s national community organisers programme.  Read here for more information.
Red Sun organisation obtains charity status

Congratulations to the “Red Sun Organisation”   (previously known as the “Kurdish Association in Birmingham”) who have recently obtained their charity number (1140349) from the Charity Commission. This organisation has been operating since 2005 and provides free and confidential advice in Birmingham to Kurdish and middle – eastern refugee and asylum seekers and their families. 
Are you eligible to apply for a CARA grant supporting refugee academics?

CARA grants assist with costs towards qualifications or work placements supporting refugee academics to move towards employment in the UK, for example: tuition/ examination fees, travel, childcare, IT equipment and stationery. You can apply if you worked in your home country as a lecturer or researcher at a higher education institution, and you have UK refugee status. Contact CARA: tel. 020 7021 0880 or email info.cara@lsbu.ac.uk .

Deadline: 5pm 18 March 2011
 Are you involved in an amateur or community sports club?

The Daily Telegraph, in partnership with RBS, is awarding five £1,000 support packages each month for the next year to encourage the development of amateur and community sports clubs across the country.  Enter here. 
Training and resources
Section 4 Support training by Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP)
Oxford House, Bethnal Green, London
30 March  1.30pm – 4.30pm

ASAP is holding a free half day training session for advice workers on gathering the evidence for section 4 applications. Places are limited to two people per organisation. For more information or to book a place contact: Marie-Anne@asaproject.org.uk
Working with schools to raise awareness of refugees
Employability Forum, 49-51 East Road, Old Street, London, N1 6AH
30 March 2011 4.30 – 6.30

Employability Forum is offering a free training session for London-based Refugee Community Organisations, focusing on how to build effective relationships with local schools, and how to raise children’s awareness of refugees. The training is based on learning from Refugees into Schools, which has worked with 27 refugee volunteers, over 45 schools and 1500 pupils. 97% of schools said afterwards they plan to further embed work on refugees into their curriculum.

Contact: Kirsty Anderson, email:  k.anderson@employabilityforum.co.uk or tel: 020 7250 8332 by Thursday 10 March 2011.
Free ESOL classes for refugee women
Acton, Hounslow and the Refugee Council, Brixton, London

Action Acton is currently running free ESOL classes for refugee women. These courses are funded by European Refugee Fund and are suitable for anyone who wants to improve their English, employability and IT skills. These courses are only available to women with a refugee or humanitarian protection status.  For more information: email marcin.lewandowski@actionacton.com or visit the website.  
Online resources

Funding Central is a free website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, which lists grants and contracts available to the third sector.  The site “provides access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities, plus a wealth of tools and resources supporting organisations to develop sustainable income strategies appropriate to their needs”.

Contracts Finder is a government website to help charities and small businesses to find public sector contracting opportunities worth more than £10,000.  Organisations can register on the free site, specify which contracts they are interested in and receive emails about them. 
‘Securing the sustainability of Islington’s BME and Refugee organisations’
Voluntary Action Islington, 200a Pentonville Road, London N1 9JP 
3 March 2011  9.30am – 1.00pm

Identify cost-effective, long-term options of working together to save money and strengthen capacity and services.  Discuss opportunities for: shared premises and hubs for BME and refugee organisations, income generation, delivering shared services.  Booking is essential. Contact Elinor: elinor.hopson-hill@vai.org.uk

Free networking event for women
Afghanistan and Central Asian Association, Unit A11, Hatcham Park Mews, New Cross Gate, London, SE14 5QA
8 March 11.00am – 3.00pm

Refreshments will be provided. For further information please contact Dr. Nasimi on 0207 3580 222 or 0757 6989 225
International Women’s Day celebratory event
Refugee Therapy Centre, 1A Leeds Place, Tollington Park, London, N4 3RF
10 March 1.00 – 3.00pm

Refugee Therapy Centre is pleased to invite you to a truly international celebration.  We hope that you can join us in celebrating the lives of refugee women from all around the world and marking this very special day. Please do let us know of your attendance so we can cater accordingly.  Tel: 020 7561 1587
 ‘Hidden Victims Awakening Hope’ conference for International Women’s Day
 Dewsbury Town Hall, Dewsbury, Yorkshire
17 March 10am – 3pm.

Organised by Kirklees Womens Alliance, the conference offers guest speakers and workshops focussing on ‘the inequalities that remain prevalent in society despite women’s participation and immense contribution to the political, social and economic landscape of Britain’.  Free to unemployed, and £10 to voluntary sector delegates.  Contact: Habiban Zaman tel: 07584 128150 or email: habiban.zaman@kirklees.gov.uk
 Coproducing the Big Society
Resident University, Bordesley Centre, Birmingham
18 March 1.30 – 5.00pm and Saturday 19 March 9.30 – 5.00pm

Be Birmingham is hosting a summit on the Big Society, at the Bordesley Centre on 18 March.  In the afternoon, Resident University will follow up questions, issues and themes raised at the summit, in particular, how residents and public services can co-produce the Big Society together. The event is free, includes lunch and refreshments, and lots of opportunities for discussion with organisations across Birmingham.  Book here
Email: info@chamberlainforum.org.  Tel: 07795 448 462
Part-time Families, Children and Volunteer Coordinator Merton and Wandsworth Asylum Welcome (MaWAW)

Vacancy begins April 2011.  MaWAW is looking for a part-time (21 hrs/week 3 days / week) Family, Children and Volunteer Coordinator to provide targeted support for refugee, asylum seeking and migrant families and children in the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth.

For full application pack please visit our website www.asylumwelcome.org.uk

Salary:=S01 sp 29-31 £25,141.00 – £26,804.00 (+ outer London Weighting) pro-rata

Closing date:  5pm 14 March 2011  Interview date:  28 March 2011