RA-C central team has continued working on our development into a Community Interest Company, CIC. We are keen to understand the practices which have grown organically and to find a way of streamlining parts of the work we do so that we can be more effective. It turns out that this has revealed the nature of our work more clearly. In Colchester we see that through advocacy we are addressing needs in 6 main action strands: Education; Employment; Immigration help; Mental Health; Social rights and benefits; and Welfare and Emergency support. Outreach and fundraising are ongoing in the community as a whole. Partner organisations and volunteers are helping us in all aspects of the work we do.
Regular trips and donations to help refugees in Calais are important to ground our work in the international context.
We have set up a management team separate from the board of directors. We believe it is time to broaden the board of directors to make sure we keep the unique, caring ethos while we become a more effective and larger organisation. We hope to co-opt and include people who have the experience of coming to Colchester as refugees, working with refugees or those with close ties to the new community who may have had to seek sanctuary.
Using a ‘triage model’, we are developing an initial interview procedure to take down the key information, the problem which has brought someone to seek help, and a brief history. There may be a simple solution we can offer immediately and often we can also offer additional help and advice. If we can train some volunteers to meet people initially, we will free up our caseworkers to assess, oversee and address complex cases. This would also allow us to staff the office at regular times and more often.
One of our key aims is to better use the help of volunteers. Short basic training sessions will be threaded between sessions where the work of RA-C is shared in the form of individual stories told by volunteers, staff and friends of RA-C…
To this end we are proposing a ‘Story Day’ training event on March 2nd between 10am and 4pm, venue to be confirmed – it’ll be a day of stories from and on behalf of our clients. Places need to be booked – please drop us an email if you’d like to reserve a place.
Our aim is that everyone knows what we do, why and how. Volunteers will be able to represent RA-C and also find their role and purpose as they see how they can fit in and bring to life their ideas to help and welcome those seeking sanctuary.