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Working with asylum seekers and the refugee community

Wavemaker CIC team who specialise in enhancing people’s digital skills have been providing support to ASHA & AMITY refugee and asylum seeker support organisations based in Hanley & Newcastle-under-Lyme respectively, in North Staffordshire. As part of that digital support they have signposted around 1000 refugees and asylum seekers to trusted sites as part of this training and provided sessions on how to remain safe online as well as how to spot fake news items and information. Read more on this support programme and how the refugees and asylum seekers were advised to receive trusted information online and what best practice looks like for their e-safety.

To date we have delivered over 20 workshops within the local refugee and asylum seeker community within Stoke-on-Trent in the surrounding area. Prior to lockdown or Covid these have been face-to-face and have been a mixture of CPD for a core member of staff based within the refugee centre as well as group sessions on key areas that have been identified by the digital team at Wavemaker and also highlighted by the teams within the refugee setting. An example of this could be progressing through the Good Things Foundation Learn My Way section on their website with step-by-step instructions and guides from everything to opening a laptop and registering for an email through to completing forms and sharing documents, it’s a great resource.

The Wavemaker team have engaged with over 80 young asylum seekers and refugees in registering emails and introducing them to government recognised and supported websites to help them on their process to apply for a right to remain or similar. They have delivered three dedicated women’s only sessions in digital inclusion within the refugee community too; working specifically with a trusted female member of the team within the refugee centre they have signposted the women to numerous trusted health and social care websites and NHS supported apps. These included the Red Cross first-aid app and website as well as NHS online are two examples of such sites.

For the refugee support organisations themselves Wavemaker have delivered CPD for staff and helped streamline their existing technology as well as installing apps and maintaining new tablets that have been gifted to them.

Through these workshops they have seen a great increase in digital confidence to a point where they have got a high percentage of the participants registering through their local GP to be able to access My GP, patient access and be able to book appointments online or via a smart phone.

During this time of lockdown and isolation, digital inclusion and confidence in digital is key and no more so, than for those who speak English as a second language and who are within the refugee and asylum seeker community.

Benedict McManus, CEO & Creative Director Wavemaker CIC

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