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Service Update: Refugee Council Leeds Offices- 24th March 2020

The Refugee Council Leeds office is now closed for the foreseeable future and all services have implemented a working from home policy in response to the escalating Covid 19 crisis.

All staff landlines have been rerouted to their mobile phones.

For general enquires you can still call 0113 2449404

Please see the following information from each of the teams:

Children’s Advice Project
The CAP team has suspended all face to face work until further notice. However, we are still accepting new referrals for children in our region. We will be providing information, advice, and advocacy services to children and professionals via telephone. Please continue to send new referrals to: [email protected]
Or to contact an advisor, please use the following details:
Daniel – [email protected] – 07930 900236
Ewan – [email protected] – 07387 090 849
Kim – [email protected] – 07983 599908

Health Access for Refugees Programme (HARP)
HARP has suspended all face-to-face activities until further notice. There will no longer be a HARP presence in Leeds at Meeting Point on a Monday; Mill Hill Conversation group or St Vincent’s on a Thursday. HARP is offering telephone support to clients with difficulties accessing health and online Art Therapy and ESOL for health.

If you are a client and you wish to be part of our virtual HARP Community to join our online groups or HARP Facebook page for up to date translated information about coronavirus, English language support, wellbeing tips and more call or email Rose on 07393011902 [email protected]

My View – Young Person Therapist
Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 My View Therapeutic Services will be offering a reduction in service for the foreseeable future. We know how important it can be for some clients to see their therapists we are therefore offering telephone and virtual appointments. For further information contact Margaret on 07388 995140 or [email protected]

New Roots
The New Roots project has suspended all face-to-face activities and appointments until further notice. There will no longer be a weekly Friday drop in at RETAS, but telephone support is available for those in need. The Refugee Council will no longer be accepting new referrals for Travel Document applications, but basic Immigration advice can be given over the telephone. Call Tom on 07778 105396 for more information.

If you are a client and you wish to be part of our virtual Connect Community (for up to date translated information about COVID 19, English language support, wellbeing tips and more), contact Jasmine: 07778 105397 or [email protected]

All face to face client appointments, drop-ins and group work activities have ceased.

We are committed to supporting resettled refugees in our care during this period and will be doing by phone and email. Our existing phone-lines remain open during office hours (9-5) and we encourage all our clients to keep in contact with us as much as possible, especially if they find themselves experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus and are self-isolating.  We will do all we can to help.

Step Employment Services – Resettlement clients
STEP is not on hold. We are contacting all STEP clients across Leeds, Sheffield and York by phone and reminding them of the latest advice on Covid 19, as well as developing revised action plans given we are now a remote service. Things we are doing now:

Researching the IT capacity of all our clients (wifi / data, affordability, understanding, hardware at home) as we look to offer a degree of continuity in terms of regular contact, progression and learning.

  • With the above in mind we are exploring whether we can source iPads / tablets, and offering an IT course to STEP clients as a sensible first virtual project
  • WEA / Good Things Foundation / Virtual College are options we are considering in terms of virtual learning environments, but we are concerned that the more vulnerable clients may not be able to access such platforms.
  • Clients in work – many of our clients are in work and some are losing their jobs. We are trying to develop a standard response as we support clients to handle communication with employers, DWP (JCP), which is a real challenge as the picture is changing every day.
  • Clients looking for work – for those clients still keen to work we are supporting to apply for jobs in key areas, for example supermarket stock replenishment, but we are concerned that clients have understood the latest advice before applying, understand the risk of infection, and do not have family / household members from at risk groups.
  • We are looking to conduct 1:1 appointments via video calla. We are also looking at the possibility of having a STEP Facebook page (one for Leeds/York and one for South Yorkshire), where all information for clients can be in a central place.

We are aiming to establish a clear way of working in the coming days and weeks, but it is fair to say we are also in shock and simply trying to adapt to this new reality. The bedrock of STEP is client one to one and group training, and both of those strands have been lost.

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