In the summer of 2015 this network was co-ordinated by the Social Inclusion Unit, Plymouth City Council – under the Afghan Resettlement scheme. As this programme ended the network needed a new ‘home’ and as POP and POP ideas team members were present we discussed jointly running this network and very quickly this became a task for POP! We had our first network meeting in September, with further meetings in November and January. This network now has 54 individuals or organisations in the mailing list and we are keen to extend its reach into supporting work with the wider BME (Black and Minority Ethnic Community) community groups.
So far the network has achieved the following:
- An English Language Collaboration – with a clear pathway for assessment of level of need and signposting to classes all over the City
- A useful route for information exchange
- And very quickly was able to create a united response to the humanitarian crisis, which came to public attention in September l2015, and which has not stopped. This is an ongoing issue of international concern. Below is an extract from this statement:
“Plymouth organisations have united with the local community to respond to the international Refugee Crisis. Plymouth has a long history of welcoming people fleeing the worst circumstances, from war to natural disaster. Plymouth City Council, the Red Cross, Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRS), Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, Students and Refugees Together (START), Plymouth Hope, Plymouth Kurdish Community, the NHS Mental Health Asylum team, as well as several language schools and faith groups are all organisations that respond to the needs of this particular group.
In the wake of the crisis hundreds of people have contacted the various organisations asking how they can help. To have the greatest impact, the organisations are working together to enable the Plymouth community to continue its tradition of supporting those in need and are providing a range of ways for local people to offer meaningful support to people in crisis.
As a dispersal City Plymouth receives new asylum seekers every day and if you wish to support you can in the following ways:
If it is money you want to donate then please see the Local Giving website. The funds raised will be administered by Plymouth and Devon Race Equality Council and allocated within Plymouth via agencies that are working with refugees and asylum seekers.
- Or you can volunteer your time. Please see the projects page.
What will the network do next?
There are a number of sub groups that will be working on themes this year – including hosting, housing and higher education.
There are a number of individuals and groups that are keen to come together to explore the possibility of Plymouth becoming a City of Sanctuary. We will keep you updated with dates and events. You may want to have a look at this resource. A Safe Haven
Our next network meeting is on 21st July 10am-12 noon, at the Council House
Minutes of the meeting 19th May can be read by following this link: Summary Notes RAS BME Network 5 May 2016