On 20 September, we hosted a workshop for Refugees at Home staff and hosts about the Right to Remain Toolkit, how best to support those in the system, and the increase in Home Office evictions of those with refugee status.
Refugees at Home is a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. Their work is so important, and recently the organisation has been flooded with requests and referrals as a result of the increase in Home Office evictions (during very short windows of time) of those who obtain refugee status.
So, we went down to their offices to provide some support and information for the benefit of both staff and hosts.
What did the workshop cover?
The workshop began as it always does – by introducing who we are at Right to Remain, and the purpose behind our many resources. This was especially important during this session as the majority of those who attended were not familiar with Right to Remain or the Toolkit before the workshop!
If you would like to learn more about how best to use our resources, do take a look at our key tips for doing so.
We then launched into an activity about the difference between providing legal support, and legal advice (pictured above). We talked through what each one means (those who give legal advice have to be accredited to do so, while anyone can provide legal support). The group then talked through a number of hypothetical scenarios and decided whether they were examples of advice or support. This was a particularly important exercise for this group due to their intimate relationship of trust with people who are in the system – it can be tempting to slip into giving some form of advice or opinion when you are helping someone through the system, or alternatively to not provide any help at all because you are scared of crossing over into advice.
After a comfort break, we then turned to the topic of Home Office evictions of people with refugee status, as this is an issue that those at Refugees at Home are seeing directly. We spoke about what is happening, why it is happening, and the steps that people can take (which are different depending on whether someone has received a grant of status or a refusal). You can read about all that we spoke about in our blog on the topic.
We ended the session with a general question and answer session about the asylum process, common issues that the participants see, and where to find answers to their questions in the Toolkit and blog.
How feedback improves our workshops
We really appreciate it when thorough feedback and constructive criticism is provided following a workshop – it helps us to improve our workshop facilitation.
Overall, the feedback from the Refugees at Home group was really positive and motivational. The constructive feedback was also very useful. Someone had mentioned that it would be useful to go through the stages of the asylum process more formally, and we agree. We typically do include the stages as an exercise, but for this session the priority was addressing advice versus support and the evictions as these are issues that touch directly on the participants’ work.
However, we will get to creating an exercise about the stages of the asylum process that perhaps is not as time consuming or taxing as the one we currently have!
We will also be incorporating the suggestion of using interactive exercises to solidify people’s use of the Toolkit and other resources after we’ve introduced them. Stay tuned to hear how this goes at our upcoming workshops in Cornwall and Bournemouth!
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