Outreach

We visit refugees and asylum seekers where they live. This is an effective way to identify issues, especially where the most vulnerable and isolated are concerned. 

A member of Asha’s staff (accompanied by an asylum volunteer) will make around four home visits each week to meet new arrivals. They may be encouraged to attend one of our activities, be referred to another service or even offered the opportunity to help others by becoming volunteers themselves.

Befriending

Asha launched its befriending project in 2018 as part of its outreach services to those seeking asylum.

That can be a long, difficult process – and being befriended by someone from the local community can play a pivotal role in the asylum seeker’s journey.

We are building a team of volunteers to offer consistent, compassionate support and encouragement – through listening, conversational English and signposting to other services. All volunteers are given training and ongoing support.

One of our clients said: “Befrienders are excellent at providing the invisible things – showing you around, providing company and giving you the feeling of a normal life.”

Volunteering

While waiting to know if their application for asylum is successful, only those on a short list of prescribed occupations are allowed to work. Many wait months or even years condemned to idleness and inactivity.

This is why Asha is developing a volunteering programme. Currently, asylum seekers are giving their time and skills in hospitals, hospices, care homes, charity shops, food banks, schools, the RVS and YMCA, No 11 (catering in a homeless people’s drop-in), B Arts, South West Peak, the British Red Cross and the list is growing.

Volunteering enables asylum seekers to contribute to their new community and helps to break down stereotypes of asylum seekers here to claim benefits. One asylum seeker commented that his volunteering day was the only day in the week when he felt ‘properly human again’.

Please get in touch if you would like to offer an asylum seeker an opportunity to work voluntarily for your organisation or charity.

We offer a range of services at our Hanley Business Park headquarters…

Food

We began by collecting food to give asylum seekers a little extra at Christmas – but before long, they were looking to Asha for help every week.

Living on a limited income of £5.39 a day for an adult, the smallest crisis can leave an asylum seeker without cash.

A growing circle of faith groups, other organisations and individuals supports us by donating food. No-one in need is turned away, although there are occasions when stocks become perilously low.

Newcastle-under-Lyme and Lichfield food banks give Asha food when they have a surplus and Tesco Fair Share Community Food Connection donates day-old bakery products three times a week – sometimes, it can also include eggs, vegetables and even flowers.

Clothing

We like to have a variety of good quality clothing for asylum seekers who are newly-arrived and for others who may have very little. Surplus items are donated to a local hospice.

Good shoes are also in demand especially in winter, when too often an asylum seeker only has a pair of worn and leaky trainers. On average, we give out between 150 and 200 items of clothing a week.

We can always find a good home for household items such as bedding and linen, saucepans, kettles and toaster. Donations which Asha cannot use are taken to the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Hanford so nothing is wasted. It is important, however, to stress that Asha only needs good quality clothing, shoes, linen and kitchen equipment.

Financial help

Asha Support Worker Lydia Mugoyikaze is a qualified British Red Cross Support Worker and can assist by advocating with the Department of Work and Pensions on behalf of asylum seekers.

Most of Asha’s users live in outlying neighbourhoods and have no money for transport. We raise money so that mothers and children can attend our clubs for women and children. This lessens their social isolation.

Asha has an emergency fund for special payments such as helping with train tickets or buying nappies.

It is Asha’s donors who sustain these funds. If you’d like to help, please click here.

Internet access

Most asylum seekers are unfamiliar with the internet and using email, yet this is often an immigration advisor’s primary means of communication. It is important that asylum seekers remain in contact with their advisor and Asha is able to help an asylum seeker become familiarised with email and the internet. Children also enjoy using computers at our children’s club. We welcome donations of working computers.

Bicycles

We collect donated bicycles and asylum seekers refurbish these to make them roadworthy before they are given to an asylum seeker. The gift of mobility is deeply valued and there is always a waiting list.

Every cyclist should have a crash helmet and a padlock, so please donate these as well if you have them.

Every day, we deal with many people looking for support and advice. Some may have complex needs, others may merely wish to speak to a friendly person. Whatever the need, we will do our utmost to offer effective support. Here a just a few examples of how we have helped.

Escape from Iraq

A family with two children came to Asha after living in the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp.

Originally from Iraq, the family lived in an ISIS-controlled village. Their older family members were killed when they refused to help the terror group to bomb local villages, the family managed to escape and make their way to Calais, eventually arriving in the UK.

The Home Office ‘dispersed’ them to Stoke-on-Trent and they found their way to Asha, who conducted an assessment of their emergency needs. None of the family spoke English – they were fearful of everybody and their children traumatised.

The children joined Asha’s Children’s Club to develop their self-esteem and confidence, and to make friends. Their parents joined one of Asha’s English classes.

We helped get the boys into school and six months on, they were interacting with others and making friends. Their parents felt happier, less isolated and – most importantly – safe.

Nowhere to go

An asylum seeker from Iraq, living in Home Office-supported housing in Stoke, was arrested and placed in detention.

A month later he was released and instructed to return to his former accommodation. However, when he arrived there, the Home Office refused to admit him.

After living on the streets, he came to Asha – tired, unshaven and extremely hungry. We gave him food and – thanks to a volunteer who was a barber in his home country – a haircut.

The man was given a small amount of money to feed himself during the evening and we managed to find him accommodation for the night. His solicitor was contacted to get him into the system, and he is currently awaiting interview.

Forging a new life

A refugee who had been a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) contacted us. She had become homeless during the transitional period between being given ‘leave to remain’ and being able to claim support as a refugee.

She had low self-esteem and confidence, and was unsure of her entitlements and where to seek help.

We helped her to obtain emergency accommodation and referred her to our Women’s Club and English classes. She began involving herself in activities and eventually became an FGM Peer Volunteer Supporter.

As her self-esteem and confidence grew, she learned how to cope with her past experience of sexual abuse and started an access course which would help her to go to university. She is currently finishing college and has a part-time job.

Do you want to join our team?

Freelance Counsellor with specialism in ASR issues (Added 11/09/19)

Closing date for completed applications: 30th September
Interview date to be confirmed

Hours of work: Flexible
Salary: £30 per hour

Job Description:
– Provide 300 hours of professional counselling to asylum seeker and refugee women and men who have experienced trauma or abuse
– Providing wellbeing assessment in order to set up/ provide a person-centred emotional support to women and men referred by other Asha teams
– Support in providing other complementary therapies to Asha service users
– Regular individual assessment of mental health wellbeing improvement
– Support other Asha teams if needed.
Person specification
– Registered with British Association for counselling and Psychology and enhanced DBS (Essential)
– At least 3 years’ experience working as a counsellor or psychotherapist. (Essential)
– Knowledge of social health issues that affect the emotional wellbeing for asylum seekers and refugees (Desirable)

For more information contact:
Godefroid Seminega
Asha North Staffordshire Service Manager
Email: seminega@asha-uk.org
Telephone: 07429007234

Job Title: Asylum Seeker Women Well-being Support Worker/Outreach Coordinator (Added 11/09/19)

Closing date for completed applications: 30th September
Interview date to be confirmed

Hours of work: 20 hours per week
Salary: £15 per hour

Job description:
To provide an outreach service to meet newly arrived ASR women which supports them with information about:
• The locality and signposting to relevant services
• Providing early initial social health and wellbeing needs assessments that include all aspects of wellbeing (social, health)
• Design a person-centred support plan in order to reduce the delays in accessing support and improve wellbeing, which will help them to deal with the stressful asylum application process.
• Support with acquiring access to medical services such as GP’s and mental health services
• Refer them to Asha’s integration programmes such as women’s club, children’s club in order to develop confidence and reduce isolation.
• Work in a multi-disciplinary outreach team including children’s and women’s group coordinators
They will have specific responsibilities:
– To engage/partner with local authority/housing provider/asylum seeker health team to facilitate access to newly arrived asylum seekers and refugee in the city.
– To coordinate Asha outreach team targeting the most excluded, vulnerable women and men who are victims of trauma and may have other social health needs.
– To carry out an initial individual assessment, design a person-centred approach and assess the distance travelled.
– To design a referral pathway to local organisations such as Social Services, GP, mental health services or Savanna in order to support the vulnerable asylum seeker women at the earliest opportunity.
– Partnership working with local, regional and national women’s support organisations
– To working with Asha’s women’s club activities coordinator to organise the women’s group activities with the particular responsibility of organising wellbeing activities to the women, including complementary therapies.
– To monitor the project activities.
– To support in recruitment of outreach volunteers.
– To represent the asylum seeker women in local women’s network groups and meetings.
– To work with local agencies to protect asylum seeker women from abuse.
– To empower asylum seeker women to ensure quick integration and participation in the local community
– To raise the asylum seeker women’s profile in the local community.
– Support other Asha Teams if needed

Person Specification
Qualifications:
• Education level: A degree standard related to either Mental Health, Psychology, Social Work, teaching or equivalent

Experience:
• Proven 5 years’ experience of working with people with trauma, emotional disturbance and other mental health issues (Essential)
• Working flexible and unsociable hours and in a large team (Essential)
• Experience of working with people with conflicting needs (Essential)
• Working with refugees/asylum seekers (Desirable)
• Working with children and families on a one to one basis (Desirable)

Specific skills:
• Proven ability to communicate with people suffering from trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression and isolation. (Essential)
• Analytical skills – the ability to both self-analyse and evaluate against performance indicators and intervention outcomes. (Essential)
• Knowledge about the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons; specifically, asylum seeker women with past traumatic experience and other social health needs (Essential)
• Literacy, numeracy skills and PC literate. (Essential)
• Negotiation skills and understanding of partnership working (Essential)
• Ability to provide creative therapy activities and promote the work, where applicable. (Essential)
• Awareness to refer people appropriately and assess/log progress made. (Essential)
• Understanding of issues that refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons face (Desirable)
• Understanding of working in diverse environments and commitment to equal opportunities (Desirable)
Others:
• Enhanced DBS Check clear (Essential)
• Full Driving Licence (Essential)
• Availability to work weekends and evenings if needed, on a programmed basis. (Essential)
• Ability to speak another language other than English (Desirable)

For more information contact:
Godefroid Seminega
Asha North Staffordshire Service Manager
Email: seminega@asha-uk.org
Telephone: 07429007234

Asylum Seeker Refugee Women Wellbeing Worker (Added 07/08/19)

We are looking for a Well-being Worker to work with our asylum seeker/refugee women. This is a new, temporary position and is part of a pilot project which will initially be for 12 months and reviewed thereafter. This post is part time: 7 hours or above (this post does involve flexible working).
Please apply in writing to Godefroid Seminega, Unit 7 Hanley Business Park, Cooper Street, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4DW or email seminega@asha-uk.org with your covering letter and CV. Your covering letter should include a brief explanation as to how you meet the requirements for this position.
Closing date for completed applications: 19th August 2019
Interviews will be held Friday 23rd August 2019

Salary: • £15 per hour
Hours of work: • 7 hours or above hours per week – you might be required to work two evenings, weekends and days.
Team: • Asha’s Team
Location: • Asha Centre, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent
Main Purpose Planning, delivering and assessment of a pilot initiative to trial new ways of delivering support services specifically to 15 female asylum seekers who are facing complex social health issues due to past traumatic experiences such as torture, rape, asylum process failure, FGM, trafficking, war, victims of domestic violence etc. The success of the pilot project activities will be based on a target of 80% of participants in the trial self-reported:
1. Lessen their vulnerability to depression, anxiety and stress.
2. Increase their capacity to come to terms with their personal and social circumstances.
3. Increase the ability of those who are mothers to separate their needs from those of their children to better enable them to offer their children a nurturing and healthy environment.
4. Develop self-esteem and confidence, coming out of isolation through peer volunteering support
5. Have the ability to handle self-management (stress) and self-development.
Other Core Functions • With support from Asha’s Service Manager, review and design a charity asylum seeker women wellbeing initial assessment and progress review form
• Coordinate outreach in the community to identify and assess new arrival asylum seeker women and those who suffer past traumatic experience in order to participate in the pilot project
• Working in partnership with Asha asylum seeker women’s group Coordinator to promote and deliver the project activities
• Carry out an individual initial social health assessment using the adapted Asha Wellbeing Assessment / Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale
• Design a person-centred support plan with a clear monitoring system through distance travelled to see the impact of our interventions on the wellbeing of the individual involved in this one-year pilot project
• Planning 6 weeks bespoke wellbeing activities to the recruited 15 women. Activities to include education sessions, such as how small changes can improve wellbeing, thinking well, cultivating positive attitudes, staying well with 5 ways to wellbeing, yoga, dance, music, sport, etc.
• Run 8 weeks of 2-hour sessions programme, offering a mix of short talks, group discussions and opportunities to practice mindfulness, confidence building, stress management and ‘This Girl Can’
• Refer to one-to-one professional counselling to those who need counselling.
• Collect day to day personal feedback through short and small emotional support sessions
• Carry out a quarterly assessment to see the distance travelled for each individual and after one year carry out a full assessment of the project. An independent evaluator will assess the overall impact of the project. If successful, the project will be extended to all asylum women

Line Manager • Asha Service Manager
Dimensions and Limits of Authority • You are accountable to the Trustee Leader
• Key worker for children clients accessing centre based and out centre activities.

Person Specification

Qualifications:
• Education level: A degree standard related to either Mental Health, Psychology, Social Work or equivalent.

Experience:
• Proven experience of working with people with trauma, emotional disturbance and other mental health issues (Essential)
• Working flexible and unsociable hours and in a large team (Essential)
• Experience of working with people with challenging behaviour (Essential)
• Working with refugees/asylum seekers (Desirable)
• Working with children and families on a one to one basis (Desirable)

Specific skills:
• Proven ability to communicate with people suffering from trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression and isolation. (Essential)
• Analytical skills – the ability to both self-analyse and evaluate against performance indicators and intervention outcomes. (Essential)
• Knowledge about the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons; in particular women with past traumatic experience (Essential)
• Literacy, numeracy skills and PC literate. (Essential)
• Ability to provide creative therapy activities and promote the work, where applicable. (Essential)
• Counselling skills and the ability and awareness to refer people appropriately and assess and log progress made. (Essential)
• Understanding of issues that refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons face (Desirable)
• Understanding of working in diverse environments and commitment to equal opportunities (Desirable)
Others:
• Enhanced DBS Check clear (Essential)
• Full Driving Licence (Essential)
• Availability to work weekends and evenings if needed on a programmed basis. (Essential)
• Ability to speak another language other than English (Desirable)

For more information contact:
Godefroid Seminega
Service Manager
Email: seminega@asha-uk.org
Telephone: 07429007234
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