As part of Explore Adapt Renew we are interested in local asylum ecosystems. Our 7 partners are all involved in facilitating regional partnerships of civil society to achieve structure change and offer joined-up services. We are keen to learn from other areas' approach to this and also share what we are achieving. This post looks at three different examples of how local areas work together collaboratively.
1. Step Change - Greater Manchester Consortium
In April 2021, ten asylum support organisations & an Experts by Experience group launched the Greater Manchester Step Change Consortium with a purpose to develop a joined-up & collaborative ecosystem of support for refugees & people seeking asylum across Greater Manchester.
The collective vision is that refugees & people seeking asylum in the Greater Manchester area can access high quality support regardless of their postcode, make informed decisions, & are equipped with the knowledge & skills that will enable them to embrace their new lives here in the UK.
In order to achieve this, they designed a programme that includes:
- Developing place-based ‘support hubs’ in every borough of Greater Manchester
- Delivering specialist services including immigration legal advice, housing & support, asylum support rights & advocacy & activities to connect with the wider community
- Working on development projects including digital inclusion, employability support & leadership development
- Building relationships with regional & local policy actors & decision makers to ensure the voices of those with lived experience of forced migration are at the heart of responses.
Funding: National Lottery Community Fund, lead partner Refugee Action.
Blog on learnings from year 1: how the Consortium works together, the joint pieces of work undertaken & involvement of the EBE group.
Collaborative site: https://stepchange.site/
2. BRASP - Bristol Refugee & Asylum seeker Partnership
BRASP is an innovative partnership of 15 Bristol-based organisations. The vision is that all refugees & asylum seekers enjoy healthy & fulfilling lives in Bristol, have a voice & their needs are met by an effective, unified & sustainable sector.
BRASP was set up in 2019 in response to a desire for greater strategic leadership within the refugee & asylum seeker (RAS) support sector, & for greater voice in the city, particularly for people from refugee backgrounds themselves. We wanted to increase understanding & visibility of RAS work outside the sector & strengthen links with those working in other areas, such as housing & homelessness, disability, LGBT+ & business. Working more collaboratively at a strategic level could give us & the community we serve greater political influence & increase opportunity to hold agencies to account. Better collaboration in the RAS sector would also provide more coherent & less disjointed services, address gaps & avoid duplication. The pandemic, though fraught with difficulties, really kick-started this amazing collaboration as we united to ensure that the communities we serve continued to receive vital services.
- Strategic voice & influence – asylum seeker, refugee & migrant voices will be heard.
- Operational collaboration – working together to provide the best services.
- Infrastructure/governance – working together to more effectively achieve better outcomes.
- Funding – services will be sustainable, effective & efficient.
Funding: Bristol City Council Impact Fund; National Lottery Community Fund; Quartet Community Foundation; Refugee Action Explore Adapt Renew. Provided to Voscur & BRR.
3. Leeds Migration Partnership
The Leeds Migration Partnership brings together organisations across Leeds to talk about issues around refugees, asylum seekers, & other migrant groups. The LMP aims to help make Leeds a welcoming & supportive place for Migrants – bringing together individuals, groups & organisations to meet, think & share information, & ensuring that the voices of Migrants are heard & influence the people in charge.
Members of the LMP join one or more of the Information, Operations or Strategy Groups. Each group has a different role to play in achieving our aims.
- The Information Group is a key source of information about everything related to migrants going on across the city. Service updates, activities, vacancies & meetings.
- The Operations Group ensures there is a regular space for people working with migrants in Leeds to meet & share knowledge & information & to use this experience to shape the partnership priorities & make services accessible & responsive.
- The Strategy Group sets the priorities & goals & works towards achieving the through task groups.
- Safety & Inclusion, &
- Employment & Education.
The LMP strategy group is now working to revise priorities for the next 3 years, including access to justice, with a new working group meeting to develop ways of increasing access to immigration advice across the city.
Website & blog: https://migrationpartnership.org.uk/
Funding: Currently unfunded. Partnership meetings are supported & resourced by the Communities Team of Leeds City Council