Six members of British Red Cross hosted six visitors from five Citizens:mk member institutions in the second online Weaving Trust event, using Zoom as a platform. This is the second of a series of events organised by Citizens:mk in a new strategic partnership with MK Community Foundation to support its Vital Signs research.
Weaving Trust is a carousel of short one-to-one conversations between people who wouldn’t otherwise meet. The focus question for this event was: “What are the current issues facing refugees and asylum-seekers in relation to poverty and disadvantage?”
Written comments from participants at the end of the session were as follows:
- Home schooling is a challenge due to lack of the right technology, such as laptops, computers, etc, and because of language
- It is a real issue if you don’t have the right technology and good internet.
- Home schooling, mental health and relationship breakdown, are the main issues.
- Dependency- ESOL not the suitable method for teaching-access to mental health support-digital poverty- hidden discrimination- a need to liaise more with council, politicians (local MPs), decision makers etc.,
- Digital poverty – exacerbating social isolation and mental health illness. Reduction in mental health services – especially for those with language barriers and those who do not have access to public funds and can therefore not access specialists services.
- Access to mental health support especially for parents with mental health needs as well as children with complex needs. Access to financial support to buy basic food essentials and health prescriptions. Issues with inability to claim Universal Credit. Issues around domestic violence and the need to leave the accommodation they are in. Issues around Home Schooling: Parents levels of literacy and digital poverty.
- For health services, access to interpreter services is patchy; GP receptionists are saying they are not allowed to call an interpreter to help with arranging appointments. Letters from the NHS which give instructions for scans or tests, or letters reporting the outcomes are not understood. It was suggested that patient records should have a flag on them which alerts the GP or Hospital to contact patients in order to communicate these and bring in an interpreter OR have standard instructions templates in a variety of languages which are provided centrally and adapted locally.
- Access to a translator at the GPs – not all GPs knowing what they are allowed. Not understanding how the healthcare system works.
- Closing of hotels so refugees being made homeless. Option of moving in with a family no longer available
- Accessing mental health, stigma attached (culture), language barriers
- Issues around stigma are huge. Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants may have fear – fear of the unknown, not knowing who to trust, who to ask. Fear of being judged. Mental Health issues carry stigma, and with many people refugees and asylum seekers live with MH issues and less access to support and interventions. Lack of compassion and understanding in the general public is huge. Negativity and judgement is rife.
- Weaving Trust events do help increase understanding when we talk! Thank you for this opportunity.
In post-session evaluation, participants scored the event 8 out of 10.