I found shadowing the Swansea Refugee Resettlement Programme (RRP) in EYST to be more personal than the other projects; my grandfather came to the UK as a refugee, with no English and very little support. So, it’s heart-warming to learn about the support EYST provides refugees today.
Swansea RRP came about in 2016, when every EU country committed to taking in a certain number of Syrian refugees, and they now help refugees from around the world. Swansea Council refers refugees to the RRP team, who will pick up the refugees once they get to the UK and then work with them for five years. RRP support their clients in any way they can, from housing, to college, to finding paid work. The aim is for levels of support for clients to reduce over time so they can eventually become independent.
Joining the Swansea RRP meetings, which are all on Zoom following new COVID-19 restrictions, was a great experience. The team are friendly, and they made sure I was comfortable with them, something I have appreciated from all the teams I have shadowed so far. Another similarity to the other teams I have shadowed is the passion for helping people. Swansea RRP work tirelessly to support their clients, who have often come to the UK for their own safety. They respect and appreciate cultural differences which may affect the support their clients need, without relying on racialised stereotypes. By offering this friendly and determined support, Swansea RRP help their clients make real progress in being comfortable and happy in the UK. Even once the five years are up, they will make sure their now former clients are not alone; the first clients are leaving the project next year, so the support workers are creating a leaving booklet to make sure the clients know what help they are entitled to and how to access it.
Shadowing this team was a personal and uplifting experience. The work they do is invaluable, and I hope we can all embody their welcoming spirit.