The impact of Coronavirus is profound. It poses immediate serious challenges and significant risks to our service users, staff and service delivery.
In responding effectively, RETAS is living its core values and principles of listening, collaboration, adaptability, flexibility and resilience in order to meet the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. In doing so, RETAS continues to serve its core purpose of welcome and integration of refugees even in these difficult times.
So we want to let you know the nature of our service provision during this lockdown period and how the organisation as a whole is responding to the crisis.
We were delighted to attend the recent launch of Brokering Britain, Educating Citizens: Exploring ESOL and Citizenship, a new book examining the role of ESOL provision in brokering citizenship.
I sat down with Kidist to talk about her journey from service user to staff member at RETAS. Her story is incredible and I hope you enjoy hearing about it as much as I did.
Kidist's journey reflects that of many of our staff members and volunteers, which we feel adds real value to our workforce and strategic development.
We are excited to see the continued development of her social enterprise.
Jonathan Gilbert founded a fantastic digital marketing and communications agency called SM4G which provides mentoring support for small businesses and charities. Jonathan started working with RETAS as a result of funding from the Enable Grant from Lloyds Bank Foundation, which allowed him to be contracted through Good Things Foundation. He supported us with a range of improvements including increased presence on social media as well as redesigning our website.
This blog is a reflection on his time working with RETAS and the continuation of this working relationship.
Mary started at RETAS as a volunteer in early 2015 and following this worked as an employment and education adviser until the middle of last year. She was an incredible asset to the organisation and had an amazing impact on so many service users. While we were incredibly sad to lose her, we were thrilled that she is still working in the sector and that she can now channel some of her frustrations and expert knowledge into her work with Asylum Matters.
I sat down with Roger to chat about his role since his first involvement with RETAS as he has had such an interesting journey which I felt was important to share. Roger's journey very much mirrors that of lots of our current and former staff members, many of whom began as volunteers and progressed through various roles. Equally, many of our current and former staff have themselves been through the asylum process and been service users at RETAS which we feel adds a crucial perspective and contribution to the way in which we carry out our services.