Trinity Safe Spaces (TSSs) drop-ins normally provide support and services, through external agencies such the British Red Cross, Refugee Women Connect, that are key to integrating asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants, into the local authority area, services, organisations and community of Halton.
Due to the Covid 19 lockdown, the Trinity Safe Space buildings had to be closed in March after 3 x weekly sessions attended by an average of 45 people, causing the leaders’ teams to make plans together with A Better Tomorrow, Halton, to support the asylum seekers we had made contact with, as well as any new arrivals we came across. The support has changed from people coming to a drop-in where they met with others, ate a cooked lunch, accessed food parcels, toiletries, sanitary products, clothes and essential household items and received practical help with form filling, legal aid through partner organisations etc, to support from A Better Tomorrow, Halton with the following activities during lockdown:-
We formed the virtual TSS Leaders’ Group, which meets weekly by video call, to plan what to do - this became a weekly report-in session, to hear what was being provided by A Better Tomorrow, Halton, partly funded from an Our Halton grant, a grant from the Police Crime Commissioner and many generous donations from the public, to support A Better Tomorrow, Halton practically and emotionally, to utilise our collective contacts and partnerships to help with issues arising and to discuss the rest of the year, when lockdown eases.
We have also set up Survival English lessons on-line using a combination of Messenger and WhatsApp for practice exercises, You Tube videos, and video calls to practise speaking and listening. Currently 29 students are taking part in this, supported by 2 tutors and 6 volunteers with a few new students being assessed. There are two levels: beginner and entry. Students and their helpers are enjoying this and are doing well.
Outcomes already achieved for asylum seekers
Through a Better Tomorrow, Halton we have:
We still need cash donations to keep this vital work going for the foreseeable future. There are two ways you can donate, through our Just Giving link, or you can make a one off donation/set up a regular donation into our bank account by emailing us on TSSHalton@gmail.com so we can give you the account details securely.
Lessons learned are that our team is very flexible, can adapt to new ways of working very quickly, that people worked to their strengths in what could have been a crisis by applying for extra funding, monitoring what is happening, supporting each other extremely well, that, despite being from different faiths/denominations we all wanted the best for the client group and worked hard to achieve this and that the asylum seekers are much happier and well than they would have been had we not have done this. Also, by partnership working, we have provided a huge amount of support from quite small amounts of funding and donations, which has made a very big difference to people’s lives. A very big thank you to everyone who has worked, volunteered and donated money or goods over this difficult period – you have had such a positive impact on many people.
We also have volunteering opportunities if you are able and willing to help: for example helping deliver food and other essentials to properties across Halton, especially if you have your own vehicle; helping to sort and bag donations; helping as an on-line support for the Survival English; contacting people by WhatsApp or phone to check on their wellbeing. You will need to go through a safer recruitment process to ensure we keep you and our vulnerable people safe. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with us, please use the email address above and one of our team will reply to you.
Halton Trinity Methodist Church, Main Street, Halton Village, Runcorn, WA7 2AT
Trinity Methodist/United Reform Church, Peel House Lane, Widnes WA8 6TJ
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