Refugees and asylum seekers face stark choices and experience a range of different barriers which can lead to feeling isolated, lonely and then to depression. Through this initiative ‘Belonging Together’ FURD will work with the wider community to tackle isolation and loneliness and bring refugees and asylum seekers together to form friendships. Evaluation carried out by FURD lead researcher found that FURD's ‘Belonging’ project, which has worked with refugees and asylum-seekers since 2012, has made a difference to the lives of many vulnerable individuals. It helps to prevent social isolation, raise awareness, improve mental and physical health, establish partnership work and facilitate ‘normality’ for those beyond the margins of the mainstream.
One of FURD’s primary aims centres around providing activities and events that bring people from different backgrounds together, build positive relationships to reduce social isolation and enable participants to develop social networks.
Many people in our respective communities live parallel lives and have very little contact with people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This is contributing to a culture of anxiety and lack of trust which often leads to loneliness and being seen as the ‘other’, further exacerbating their alienation from society and fostering a suspicious culture between host community and newer arrivals. (“host” in this context includes large sections of the more settled communities and not just white people).
A number of the activities we hope to provide will be delivered in partnership with local / city-wide organisations that are able to provide additional support and guidance in relation to reducing loneliness or isolation and building positive networks. Activities will include:
- One to one support and a friendly listening ear.
- Advice on services for refugees and asylum seekers.
- Increase awareness on health and wellbeing issues.
- Weekly drop in session with a free hot lunch.
- Opportunity to meet new people in safe and friendly environment.
- A range of social, recreational and therapeutic activities.
- Access to FURD's other programmes.
- Opportunity to volunteer
If you would like to refer yourself or someone else, please just get in touch with us.