Every team in EYST is incredibly busy, but I really got a sense of how busy team VARS (Volunteer, Asylum and Refugee Support) was this week. I was told at the start of the week that there may not be much for me to shadow thanks to us all working from home, but by the end of the week I have been in three meetings and had phone calls with three team members. Every member of the team works incredibly hard to help asylum seekers during and after their asylum claims, from the moment they get to Swansea until they are in secure work and are comfortable. This can involve helping their clients get legal representation, apply for benefits and jobs, and translating official documents. A new part of their team, the Crisis Project, helps asylum seekers and refugees access the technology they need to stay connected during the pandemic.
VARS also help asylum seekers and refugees through advocacy. I sat in on a meeting of the Refugee Coalition, which combines refugee support charities across Wales who can ask for financial support from the Welsh government. While balancing the needs of individual clients, the Refugee Coalition work to get fair support for everyone who needs it. This is no easy feat, and it’s wonderful to see the passion of those pushing for the best services possible.
Thank you to everyone at VARS for a great week. It was fab to see your work!