[Skip to Content]
Team buzzing with ideas after Bristol Refugee Rights trip

Team buzzing with ideas after Bristol Refugee Rights trip

Team buzzing with ideas after Bristol Refugee Rights trip

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

As part of the Frontline Network Shadowing Fund, InterAction visited Bristol Refugee Rights, to see what lessons could be learned from another organisation supporting asylum seekers and refugees.

Richard, (Director of Operations), Kate, (Drop-in Manager), and Tolosa, (Drop-in Coordinator), from the Action Foundation team travelled down to Bristol last month to learn how BRR operates on a day-to-day basis. The team came away full of ideas on how to develop their own InterAction drop-ins, which have been running since May 2019.

Bristol Refugee Rights was set up as a voluntary organisation in 2006 with the aim of upholding and championing the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

They are also one of the eight organisations, along with Action Foundation, who are part of the Early Action Charter. This is an England-wide programme set up to help prevent people in the asylum system living in crisis.

BRR provides a place of welcome where asylum seekers and refugees can meet, as well as helping them to play a full part in the wider community.

The organisation runs three Drop-ins a week in two different locations. The team attended one of BRR’s Drop-ins session and were impressed with both the range of services available as well as the well-established sign-in and registration system in place.

A wonderful range of services for asylum seekers are provided, including:

• Casework and advice
• Free clothing shop
• Refreshments (toast and tea/coffee)
• Free lunch
• Games
• ESOL
• Free haircuts
• Crèche
• Massage

A Volunteer-led service

The BRR have three advice staff and volunteers who are qualified to provide casework and advice services. The Action Foundation team were struck by how experienced the BRR volunteers are: all their advice staff and volunteers have completed OISC Level 1-3 Accreditations. The volunteers help asylum seekers with health, housing and asylum issues which have been recorded into their database system by caseworkers. The volunteers beamed with pride at being involved in the project, some of whom have worked with BRR since its creation 13 years ago.


Looking to the future

The team especially liked the idea of the regular team meetings BRR hold just before the Drop-in starts, with volunteers and staff members, facilitated by the Drop-in manager. This meeting usually involves volunteers introducing themselves and giving them the chance to chat about any concerns, issues or developments about asylum seekers. This is followed by a debriefing at the end of the Drop-in session about how the Drop-in was.

Action Foundation’s Drop-in Manager Kate Townsend said: “It was incredibly insightful, and we all learned a lot, especially thinking to the future of how our Drop-ins could look further down the line.”

Action points

The team were really impressed with what they saw in Bristol and are going to implement the wrap-around team meetings before and after each Drop-in session with the volunteers.

The Action Foundation team will consider translating registration forms into five different languages and setting up a computerised sign-in and registration system.

They will also consider running casework and advice services, in addition to providing haircuts and lunch services.

This trip was made possible thanks to funding from St Martin in the Fields Frontline Charity ‘Shadow Fund’.

Click here to find out more about our InterAction Drop-in service.

News and Views

  • End Furniture Poverty Survey

    End Furniture Poverty Survey

    End Furniture Poverty have recently spoken with the Frontline Network to discuss their important ongoing survey, seek...
  • Cover the Cost Campaign

    Cover the Cost Campaign

    Jasmine Basran, Senior Policy Officer at Crisis, talks to us about the Cover the Cost Campaign, asking the Government...
  • VRF Impact Report 2018/19

    VRF Impact Report 2018/19

    Over the past year we have given out 3827 grants totaling £1,156,805 through the VRF. Read the latest Impact Report t...
  • Influence from the Frontline

    Influence from the Frontline

    Frontline workers are crucial at giving insight into the viewpoints of the people they work with as well as the chall...
  • The Vagrancy Act

    The Vagrancy Act

    Crisis, along with others including Homeless Link, Cymorth Cymru, Centrepoint, St Mungo’s, Shelter Cymru and the Wall...
  • Influencing local decisions

    Influencing local decisions

    Zoe, Frontline Network Coordinator at Coventry Citizens Advice, talks to us about the Coventry Frontline Network and...
  • The Litigant in Person Network

    The Litigant in Person Network

    Martha de la Roche, Network Development Manager at Litigant in Person Network (LiP Network), tells us about The LiP N...
  • VRF Impact Report

    VRF Impact Report

    Find out what impact VRF had last year and how to get involved in shaping its direction in the coming year.
  • Housing First Scotland

    Housing First Scotland

    Please see here for the first issue of Housing First Connect - a twice-yearly newsletter for Scotland’s new Housing F...
  • Slaying the Dragon

    Slaying the Dragon

    Will Golding, Edinburgh Tutor at Crisis, talks to us about 'Slaying the Dragon'.
  • CPAG - Early Warning System

    CPAG - Early Warning System

    Dan Norris, from CPAG, talks to us about a new Early Warning System to record the impact of benefit changes implement...
  • The Hostile Environment

    The Hostile Environment

    Bethan Lant, a Project lead from Praxis, writes about the creation of a hostile environment for migrants and refugees.
  • Wrexham’s Crisis Cafe

    Wrexham’s Crisis Cafe

    Sinead Kelleher writes about Wrexham's Crisis Cafe, a multi-agency response to Universal Credit.
  • Frontline Worker Survey

    Frontline Worker Survey

    We are asking frontline workers to participate in a survey, aimed at those working with clients who are experiencing...
  • A map through conflict

    A map through conflict

    A Cyrenians Mediator writes about their innovative Amber Mediation and Support Project, a model of mediation and supp...
  •  “A place to call home"

    “A place to call home"

    Hannah Gousy was seconded from Crisis to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) to help design policy recommendations to...
  • A London Nightshelter

    A London Nightshelter

    On 7 November we opened our church-based shelters for the winter with more churches signed on then ever before. Glass...
  • 'Step Up' at The Connection

    'Step Up' at The Connection

    Wyn Newman introduces the volunteer programme 'Step Up' that has been developed at The Connection for service users.