The Step Change consortium brings together eleven asylum and refugee support organisations and an Experts by Experience group working in Greater Manchester. This report brings together our findings from the past year as well as recommendations for our work moving forward.
The Step Change consortium is a 3.5 year programme supported by the Lottery Community Fund which brings together eleven asylum and refugee support organisations and an Experts by Experience group working in Greater Manchester (GM). Through a programme of place-based and specialist service provision, sector development and advocacy, our joint purpose is to develop a joined-up and sustainable ecosystem of support for refugees and people seeking asylum in Greater Manchester.
Over the past 18 months, there have been some significant shifts in the UK refugee and asylum context, most significantly the hardening UK policy position with the passing of the ‘Nationality and Borders Act 2022’ and the recently passed ‘Illegal immigration Act 2023’ (often collectively referred to as the ‘anti-refugee laws’). The operationalisation of various schemes supporting people from Afghanistan and Ukraine, as well as a cost of living crisis and challenges surrounding contingency accommodation (including hotels), has put extreme pressure on the asylum and refugee support services, as well as making life increasingly challenging for people within the asylum system.
In the face of these changes in the UK context, it is particularly important that we are working collaboratively to strengthen our regional level support for refugees and those seeking asylum in GM as well as bolstering our collective, called GM voice. In June 2023, facilitated by our learning partner MERL, we came together as a consortium to reflect on the work we have done over the past year to strengthen this ecosystem of support, develop place-based models of support, and ensure the meaningful input and engagement of EBE knowledge and experience.
You can find out more about the consortium, its work, partners and EBE group here. As part of our work in strengthening the support systems in GM, we are also working with many additional partners on key areas of work including hotels, employability, and EBE support, so therefore invite anyone who is interested in connecting with the work of the consortium to contact Monica Reeves email@example.com.