Upbeat Communities provides support to refugees and asylum seekers at different stages of their journeys.
We address the needs of those newly arrived in the UK, as well as supporting those who have been through the asylum process and have been granted refugee status.
We work primarily in Derby, with some projects extending into Derbyshire. Our work falls into three categories: welcome, empowerment and awareness.
Arriving in a new country can be a daunting experience, especially if you have been through trauma and loss. Our welcome services aim to reach out to people when they are most isolated. We offer a range of support to newly arrived refugee families and individuals in order to help them feel welcomed.
Welcome Boxes - our trained volunteers visit newly arrived refugees and deliver a Welcome Box, filled with small gifts and useful information. The volunteers offer friendship and support to those seeking asylum, helping them with things like registering with a GP or finding their way around their new city.
"It was a box of magic! It gave access to many open doors" - Welcome Box Recipient
"It's not important what's in the box, it's important what's in the heart" - Welcome Box Recipient
English Classes - not being able to speak English is one of the biggest barriers to integration for refugees and asylum seekers. We offer a variety of classes, from beginners English right through to high level courses for those wanting to get into work. It's also a lot of fun and a chance to bond as a community of learners!
Community Integration Activities - we offer a range of opportunities for refugees, asylum seekers and local people to come together in a shared space, to take part in activities, learn from each other and build friendships through sports, arts, wellbeing, a parent and toddlers group, cultural visits and community meals.
"I am alone in this country, with no mother or father or brother or sister or my husband, but when I met you everything changed. You became my brothers and sisters" - Project Participant
We want to enable people to rebuild their lives and begin to thrive in their new home. We listen to what they need and design training and programmes to help people achieve their goals.
Employment & Enterprise - we deliver a range of training and mentoring to support refugees in finding work. We identify education and training needs and explore options for setting up businesses. This support is tailored to the needs of the participants and delivered flexibly to ensure appropriate engagement.
Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement - we provide support to families in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme in Derbyshire. Through local partnerships, we resettled 48 refugees in 11 families in the 12 months up to November 2017 and will rehome up to another 50 refugees in small family groups before April 2019. We empower these people to thrive in their new environment.
Refugee Housing - we run Host Derby to offer temporary accommodation for destitute asylum seekers. We also provide good quality properties for refugees to rent and support our tenants to move on in life by helping them navigate the challenges of setting up bank accounts, registering for benefits and paying bills.
Social Enterprise Development - we have developed a number of social enterprise activities that provide employment opportunities as well as generate income for us to be able to carry out our charitable aims. These include Laziz, a catering business set up to provide work for refugee and migrant women, and Derby Language School, providing language learning for local people.
In order for refugees and asylum seekers to thrive they need to feel part of a welcoming society. Our awareness-raising activities help the local settled community better understand the challenges these people face and the contribution they bring. Through events, training and volunteering opportunities we help build understanding between cultures and opportunities for friendships to be built.
Since 2005 we have:
Visited 40 colleges and schools to raise awareness about refugees
Help set up 8 refugee/migrant led businesses
Developed 3 social enterprises to support refugees
Trained 35 churches to run projects to welcome refugees
Organised Refugee Week activities for the last 10 years
Launched Derby City of Sanctuary with partners
Welcomed more than 1000 refugees and their families to the UK
Engaged over 400 volunteers
Advocated for 300 refugees with their legal cases
Taught 1500 English lessons
Supported 200 mothers with children
Housed over 20 refugees in our move-on accommodation
Our work has been generously supported by the following organisations: