Over the past year the Refugee Council Resettlement team has worked closely with Sheffield City Council and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) on the SHARE project.
The project, which is led by the ICMC, aims ‘to build a European resettlement network of cities, municipalities and regions’ and is part of the EU Resettlement Network. The SHARE project has supported dialogue and information sharing between stakeholders from countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Led by our community development workers, Frowynke Siegers (Hull) and Akoi Bazzie (Sheffield), Refugee Council has hosted a number of delegations from European countries interested in establishing and developing resettlement programmes: delegations from France, Germany, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic have visited since October 2012 . Tailored to the interests of delegates from both central and local government and the NGO sector, the Refugee Council has provided a range of activities and discussions designed to share good practice and to demonstrate our model of providing support to resettled refugees with its focus on supporting community development and client independence. We have also contributed to written and filmed materials promoting good practice, including “Welcome to Sheffield: Reflections on 8 years experience of receiving resettled refugees at the local level“
The SHARE project is now drawing to a close and we have been pleased to receive positive feedback from visiting delegations. It has been very useful both to exchange information about the successful elements of our model of client support and to review our practice through the fresh eyes of European colleagues who are starting up new programmes. Different visits have focussed on core issues including volunteering, community integration, client empowerment and how to promote a positive image of resettlement through the media. A principal focus has been to encourage dialogue between delegates and the clients themselves, and we are pleased to have helped to facilitate dialogue between resettled refugees and emerging European stakeholders.