Season One - RETAS before lockdown
RETAS has responded quickly to the needs of our clients during Covid-19 lockdown. Using Zoom to deliver weekly English conversation classes is just one innovative way to support isolated learners. Najwa, who has been delivering the classes as part of the Syrian Resettlement Project, tells us more:
The latest government advice about social distancing and other restrictions has been translated into Arabic. Thanks to Leeds City Council resettlement manager and communities team for sharing this with us.
The things that Walid loves most about British culture are football, travel and … queuing!
If you think you have coronavirus you can book a free test at Bridge Street Community Centre, Rider Street LS9 7BQ.
Volunteers' Week is a time to celebrate the contribution made by millions of people around the UK through volunteering. Here at RETAS we are fortunate to benefit from the time and efforts of our many volunteers. By volunteering your time, sharing your skills and talents, you are making a huge difference to the lives of refugees in Leeds - helping them to feel welcome, supported and integrated into society. Thank you for everything that you do.
We've missed seeing all our volunteers and clients in person while the office has been closed. And we really appreciate the extra efforts that so many of our volunteers have made to continue supporting us from a distance - whether that's offering interpreting over the telephone, or making information videos for our social media pages.
Although the office is closed and we are working from home at the moment, our volunteers are very much in our thoughts. Please do keep in touch - it's always great to hear from you, and if RETAS can support you in any way during this difficult time, please do get in touch. If you haven't already done so, why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter for all our latest news? And if you have any good ideas for passing the time during lockdown, learning English or anything that you think our clients might find useful, please share it with us. Together, we can help each other through this exceptionally difficult time.
On Friday 5th June RETAS staff are holding a Clap for Volunteers via Zoom to show our appreciation.
Thank you again for all that you do for RETAS - and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
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.