Working on behalf of Essex County Council to provide essential support for migrants and refugees
WHAT WE DO
Essex Integration is a non-profit organisation that provides essential support services to newly arriving refugees and migrants accepted under the Home Office VPR scheme to Essex.
While it works on a contract basis for Essex County Council to deliver the core requirements of the scheme, it also provides, as a charitable trust, wider integration support through a range of voluntary and community services.
Statutory core provision –
- 1. Welcome – liaison with local authorities and support paperwork, meeting and transport from airport, initial home welcome and meal, house familiarisation, introduction to volunteer support.
- 2. Language & Interpreting – provision of fully-dedicated translators to provided personal support during statutory integration process.
- 3. Living Essentials
- Accommodation – sourcing suitable housing and arranging leasing, and provision of basic furnishings.
- Health – registering with GP, dentists and opticians, with monitoring and referral support in case of the effects of trauma (including loss, injury and mental health)
- Benefits – registering for core benefits – JSA/ESA, Child Tax Credits, Child Benefit and, if applicable, PIP/Carer Allowance.
- Schooling – arrange with LA on placement and registration, includes introductions and taster days, and accompaniment by translator for initial attendance (see voluntary section below for support on uniforms)
- Personal Finance – introduction to bank for account set-up, advice and use of account, support for payment of regular outgoings.
- 4. Orientation –
- Familiarisation briefings – legal, geographical & cultural
- Language – ESOL enrolment
- 5. Advice and guidance –
- Provision of advice and guidance during statutory integration process.
- 6. Resources and staffing provision –
- Employment of qualified and motivated people (including translators) with DBS checks, and with confidentiality, safeguarding, boundaries and awareness training.
- Suitable premises for work with clients, with group and confidentiality provision
- Secure systems – records storage, internet security protocols, data protection.
- 7. Accountability to statutory funders –
- Audits, data provision, provision costing.
- Staff performance reviews and for statutory requirements
- Statutory updates and requirements for client changes
- Voluntary Support –
- We provide a complimentary and added-value support as some of the objectives above (in 1 – 5) cannot be carried out fully within the scope of statutory funding provision. Through donations and volunteer involvement, we also aim to provide.
- Integration Through Language – our established sessions with volunteers help with the placement of language in everyday situations, and support the ESOL classes provision.
- Additional living essentials – through donations we can support families with such purchase as televisions, mobile phones, school uniforms, extra housing furnishings, TV licenses.
- Social events – provision of regular social activities and visits
- Befriending support groups – new families are linked up with specific befrienders to help them make their way into the local community
- Other volunteer groups – working with other groups to provide extra support, an employment programme and counselling for example.
- Volunteers – all are background-checked, trained in boundaries and safeguarding
- Essex Integration is part of DNA Networks, registered charity number 1086364
Essex Integration – Refugee and Migrant Support – emerged out of the Action-in-Communities (A-I-C) project based in Bromley/London, to support refugees from UNHCR camps to integrate into UK, 2008-2011. The Colchester branch of A-I-C was closed at the end of 2011 as the Home Office funding came to an end. With the encouragement of Colchester Borough Council and other partners (individuals, charities, churches, Colchester Community Voluntary Services), it was decided to continue the work in Colchester and Fresh Beginnings was set-up as voluntary organisation in 2011.
The work continued until 2014 with a request to support the integration of Afghan Locally Employed Contractors. The organisation sought the help of DNA Networks, a Church of England Fresh Expressions Church. A registered charity (Registered Charity no: 1086364) based in Colchester it adopted the fledgling organisation as part of its outreach work. To date over 30 families and individuals have been supported in Colchester, Chelmsford and Harwich for the LEC programme.
Further expansion came at the end of 2015 with the Syrian VPR (vulnerable person resettlement) programme, when Colchester Borough Council approached Fresh Beginnings to receive the first group of Syrian refugees. By the end of 2016 eleven families had arrived in Colchester.
Essex County Council has awarded a contract to continue the support for the integration of SVPR families now throughout Essex; the support service will now be known as Essex Integration. The name change will reflect the wider area of support and the main work we carry out.