July sees a big change at the Refugee Project as we bid farewell to Sara Harris, our Project Co-ordinator for the last 22 months. Sara has been central in steering the project through a really challenging phase of its journey and we are very grateful for her careful and caring approach, her dedication to the role and for regularly ‘going the extra mile’ for the benefit of our clients. She describes her departure as ‘bitter-sweet’, saying ‘I leave feeling grateful about all I have learned and experienced here and wishing the project every success in continuing this very important service. Thank you to everyone who has embraced me at the project and made it a very positive and memorable time. I will certainly miss you all!’
Recruitment is underway for a new Project Co-ordinator, details can be accessed here (closing date Monday 4 July 2022). In the meantime, we are pleased to report that the project is in very safe hands as Azad Hasan, our project worker, will also be covering some of the co-ordination duties in the interim.
Following National Volunteers week in June when we celebrated our volunteers and their individual contributions, the positive feedback received highlighted what they get out of supporting our clients. One very typical message was: ‘This role is very rewarding and gives me great personal satisfaction helping other people who have had much suffering and distress.’
Project volunteers meet many wonderful people from all over the world and it is touching to witness the honesty and integrity of those who have so little. For example, one man who registered with us earlier this year was destitute and so received supermarket vouchers as well as food and toiletries. As soon as his circumstances changed, and a very basic government subsidy reinstated, he refused to accept a final supermarket voucher from us, saying: ‘Thank you so very much but I do not want to take more than I deserve for that affects my faith.’
Our clients at the centre now benefit from advice and support from Newcastle Council Asylum and Refugee Team during our sessions. This complements regular visits and support from the British Red Cross and our Northumbria Police Community Engagement Officer.
We continue to see an increasing number of people using our services so your donations of food, toiletries and finance are even more in demand. We particularly need toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower gels, deodorants, shampoo, conditioners and washing powders as well as cooking oil, coffee and chickpeas. The full list of items required is available here.