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Welcome to the RA-C Newsletter

Invitation to our AGM

I am delighted to invite all our supporters and friends to join us at our AGM and celebration of our third year - 6.30 to 8pm Thursday 15th November at Firstsite.

Since last year we have grown and matured from a loose network of humanity welcoming refugees and asylum seekers to Colchester to becoming a key player in meeting their needs and empowering their successful integration. We have become a Community Interest Company and made some wonderful partnerships, we feel we have almost grown up!

Most importantly we have become a hub for the welcome and welfare of refugees and asylum seekers, those needing support and those wanting to help. We hope we have helped to build community for the benefit of the people of Colchester and those joining us.

As always there will be stories and pictures from across the range of our activities. There will be lovely food and fellowship. We will both laugh and cry together.

Rosalind Scott - Chair Refugee Action - Colchester

You are welcome to hear us and steer us for next year.

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Community Meetings

In response to a suggestion from some of the Syrian women we are experimenting with having our Community Meetings on a Friday evening, with no school to worry about the next day. And in response to the fact that many of the families find a 5pm start difficult, by the time children have come home from school, we are now starting at 5.30pm.

We are trying various formats for sharing information, questions and ideas but the information part of the October meeting (Friday October 5th) will be fairly formal as it will be a presentation about our education system. Again this is in response to questions that families have posed - such as what do SATs mean and why do we have a 6th form college?

The August and September meetings were busy, informal and relaxed and if anyone would like to become more involved, get to know more people or talk and play with the children, do come along. Please introduce yourselves as sometimes it is easy to get lost in the buzzing atmosphere.

We appreciate that Fridays may be more difficult for some of the Colchester Community but it is an experiment worth trying. Meetings are usually the first week of the month but November is the one exception and is currently November 9th.
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RAMFEL - Refugee & Migrant Forum Of East London

On 17th September we were delighted to welcome a team from RAMFEL to our small office at Queen Street.

James Tullet, CEO, and Clemence Aymon, Immigration Advisor came along to support clients for whom we cannot currently find answers.

RAMFEL have funding to support people facing immigration difficulties and with no access to legal aid or funding. Some of the cases presented were regarding people with no recourse to public funds while awaiting asylum claims for some years. Others were chasing home office documents which have been lost.

23 clients came along or were given a phone consultation. For some the news was sad but enabled them to move on with clear knowledge of their options. For others new pathways opened up and interventions were made.

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Clemence and James spent a long day with us, working in a focused and dedicated way. Our small office was brimming and made it increasingly clear that we need additional space – thanks to our neighbouring offices who were happy for us to set up on the landing!

RAMFEL will be back again next month as they realise now what a demand there is for their services. In the meantime we continue to pursue funding to allow us to become OISC registered so we can do some of this important work.

Fundraising Indian Meal

We are planning to hold a fund-raising Indian Evening on Thursday 29th November at First Site.

This will be in the Restaurant area we use for our meetings and will include starters, a vegetarian Indian Thali and Indian dessert.

Starters will be served informally from 7pm with people being seated by 7.30pm.

We hope to include a display of Indian music and dancing between the courses.

And we are lucky to have Vibha Osbon and Emma Evans, who are experienced Indian food caterers, in charge of the kitchen!

Full price tickets will be £20, and £10 for benefit recipients and students.

Tickets will be on sale later in October...
but please put the date in your diary!

Islamic Tile-making Workshop

Some of the Syrian children recently took part in an Islamic Tile-making Workshop run by Colchester Arts Centre.

Eve Pereira helped out at the workshop and was very pleased to see that the children were keen to participate and clearly enjoyed the activity. Eve was also very happy to report how confident the children, some who she had first met when they arrived in the UK, were in themselves, with their use of English and in the interactions with adults.
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Uprooted Exhibition

Christian Aid's touring exhibition Uprooted will be on display at Castle Methodist Church in Colchester. Focusing on Internally Displaced People - currently more than 40 million people fleeing disaster, violence, famine, who are uprooted but stay within their own country borders where they often lack international recognition and support.

The Uprooted exhibition will be on display at Castle Methodist Church, Maidenburgh Street, CO1 1TT.

Saturday 6th October 10.15am-3pm
Sunday 7th October 12noon-3pm
Monday 8th – Thursday 11th October 9.30am-3pm

Introducing Caty

Hello! My name is Caty Robey, and I have just started volunteering with Refugee Action-Colchester. I shall be working in the office part-time on administrative tasks, and I am really excited to be working with the team! I shall be concentrating on setting up office systems, like spreadsheets and calendars, to help keep track of RA-C as it expands, and will be spending a lot of time initially seeing how everything works.
Caty Robey
My background is in office administration, having worked in publishing for many years, both in London and in business with my then husband. When we closed the business in 2014 I started volunteering with Cruse Bereavement Care and ran their Colchester office until it closed in spring 2017. I moved to Wivenhoe from Aldham in December 2017 and am loving it, and am so happy to have found an organisation like RA-C where I can put my skills to good use.
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