2023 has been a year of reflection for Right to Remain, as we look back at 10 years of the Toolkit. When we produced our Toolkit reflection report, with help from our allies and partners in the sector, a key takeaway was the need to take the Toolkit upstream – directly to those in the asylum process, and disseminate the information as soon as possible.
So, when Steph, Onsite Volunteer Coordinator for Napier Friends, reached out to us requesting a workshop for the residents at Napier Barracks, we knew it would be an opportunity to put one of our central actions into practice.
Napier Friends is a grassroots organisation supporting those temporarily placed in Napier Barracks. Their mission is to help people seeking asylum to settle into the local community and their new lives in the UK. They provide a support network to people living at Napier, as well as those who have moved on from Napier, and offer meaningful activities that help people seeking asylum to adapt and integrate. This includes learning English and learning about life in Britain, and improving the residents’ health and wellbeing through cooking classes, and opportunities to volunteer in the local community.
Napier Barracks is deemed as ‘temporary accommodation’ by the Home Office for those seeking asylum. In reality, it is an isolated, quasi-detention centre, surrounded by an eight foot high fence and watched over by 24 hour security. In 2021, a ruling from the High Court found Napier Barracks unlawful, however after a period of alleged improvement, the site still suffers from overcrowding, lack of privacy, isolation and lack of integration opportunities for the residents there.
One of the key barriers faced by the residents of Napier is the lack of legal aid and lawyers available, and equally the gap in knowledge on their rights and entitlements within the UK asylum system. So, on 27 November, some of the Right to Remain team travelled down to Folkestone, Kent, to facilitate a workshop for around 20 residents of the barracks, and 7 volunteers of Napier Friends.
Given that Napier is temporary accommodation, the residents were all at very different stages of their asylum journey. We went through how to use the Right to Remain Toolkit, including a short segment on searching for specific information within the resource, and did a deep dive into the asylum process. Many residents were already familiar with the Toolkit, explaining that they used it to search for information regarding their claims.
“The Right to Remain Toolkit has proven invaluable for volunteers seeking information and as a resource to guide residents through the very complex and convoluted asylum process. Recently, the R2R team conducted a workshop for both residents and volunteers, aiming to equip us with knowledge to continually support incoming residents at the barracks. The session left everyone involved with copious notes and with many questions answered. Volunteers found the interactive nature of the session very useful and are very pleased to be able to improve their overall understanding of the process to better help those we work with”.
If you would like to request a workshop for your organisation, please fill in the below form.
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