Welcoming and enabling refugees in Kingston to become valued members of our community.
Supporting, advising and empowering refugees and asylum seekers towards building fulfilled and independent lives through skills development, advice, counselling, and assistance in access to services and employment.
1. The relief of refugees and their dependents who are in condition of need, hardship or distress
2. The advancement of education and training of refugees and their dependents in need thereof so as to assist in their integration with the new community.
WHO WE ARE
RAK is the authoritative provider of refugee related services in the Borough, valued and respected locally and a key strategic partner to RBK. We are the first port of call for statutory services seeking guidance on issues regarding Refugees and Asylum seekers.
RAK is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (“OISC”), holds an Advice Quality Standard (“AQS”) accreditation and a Kingston Quality Award in volunteer management.
WHAT WE DO
- Increase access to information and advice We have a team of 4 part-time advisers and 2 legal advisers. A typical week involves helping clients to resolve immigration or benefit issues, scheduling repayments for rent or utility arrears, arranging interpreters for GP/hospital appointments and applying for school places. We also make referrals to other organisations if they are better placed to support the client.
- Improve mental health We have 2 counsellors who assist people coming to terms with trauma and loss to cope better with the hardship of life in exile. We treat clients with PTSD, depression, anxiety, confidence issues and other mental health issues.
- Relief of financial hardship We issue foodbank vouchers and small financial donations to those in extreme hardship with no recourse to public funds.
- Develop English skills and reduce isolation We provide English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) lessons at 4 different levels. A literacy class is also offered to those with challenges in written English. The provision is provided by volunteer ESOL teachers who have a CELTA or equivalent qualification. We also offer yoga classes, workshops and events to encourage healthy lifestyles.
- Raise educational attainment for children and young people We provide a pre-school creche and after school club to help children and their parents with both the educational and social aspects of the UK school system.
- Enhance employment prospects We offer one to one advice and guidance sessions to support clients into employment, training and volunteering as well as job skills workshops. We also run a mentor programme matching job seekers with volunteers with a view to getting them in to employment.
In addition to the above RAK has been commissioned by RBK to support the refugee families who come to the borough under the RBK Vulnerable Person’s Relocation Scheme (VPRS). Working closely with RBK, RAK coordinates every stage of the integration process from initial housing set up to introductions to services e.g. GP, dentist, school, job centre and RAK’s own provision including English lessons and counselling.