Upbeat Communities provides support to refugees at different stages of their journeys.
We address the needs of those newly arrived in the UK, as well as supporting those that have been through the asylum process and have been granted refugee status.
We also provide advice and guidance to other organisations and faith groups around the UK to help them identify how they can best meet the needs of refugees in their own communities.
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
Our Welcome Boxes project is now a national initiative - supporting churches and organisations develop a simple but effective way of engaging with and supporting refugees. For more information about starting a Welcome Boxes project visit our Welcome Boxes Website .
English Classes - not being able to speak English is one of the biggest barriers to integration for refugees. We offer a variety of classes, from beginners English right through to high level courses for those wanting to get into university or work in a medical profession.
Community Integration Activities - we offer a wide range of opportunities for refugees and local people to come together in a shared space, to take part in activities together, learn from each other and build friendships. Activities include sports, arts, health and 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 support to refugees to find work, identify education and training needs and explore setting up their own business. This support is tailored to the needs of the participants and delivered flexibly to ensure appropriate engagement.
Capacity Building - Finding peer support from within their own refugee communities can be a lifeline for those newly arrived in the country. We have worked with a number of community leaders and activists to support and empower them to set up their own refugee community organisations in order to identify and meet the needs of their own community members
Refugee Housing - It is difficult for refugees to find decent, affordable accommodation once they have been granted refugee status. We provide good quality properties for refugees to rent and also support our tenants to move on in life by helping them navigate the challenges of setting up bank accounts, registering for benefits, paying bills and finding work.
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. Our current enterprise activities include Laziz, a catering business set up to provide work for refugee and migrant women, and Derby Language School, providing language learning for both refugees and local people - www.derbylanguageschool.com
In order for refugees to thrive they need to feel part of a welcoming community. Our awareness raising activities help the local settled community understand better the challenges refugees 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 is generously supported by the following organisations: