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A Strong Man, New Video August 19, 2015

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A new film made by refugee men calls for violence against women to stop.

A group of refugee men who fled from their homes in countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Syria to seek sanctuary in Scotland, have launched an online short film calling on other men to stop violence against women.

‘A Strong Man’, which echoes the messages of the White Ribbon Scotland campaign, calls on men of all cultures and faiths to take pride in being gentle and to teach their friends, families and communities, that violence against women is wrong.

This beautiful film with a powerful message is set in Glasgow and is definitely worth a watch.

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Volunteer Fundraiser Required October 2, 2012

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The volunteer fundraising position will enhance Living Well International by helping us access funding to deliver the projects.

This Grow Your Own Job offer gives you the chance to develop an employment opportunity of your own with CIS, by accessing income to cover costs.

Please see:
Job description and person specification
Application and equal opportunities form

If you would like to discuss this, call Sheila on 0141 946 6111

To apply, please return your application to:

Community InfoSource
Suite 432, 355 Byres Road
Glasgow G12 8QZ
email: info@communityinfosource.org.uk

‘This is my village now’ – research October 2, 2012

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village

Post-status refugee needs and experiences in Glasgow

April 2009 saw the launch of a study into the experiences of new refugees in Glasgow. The report, by Dr Duncan Sim of the University of West of Scotland, is the culmination of two years of action research carried out by refugees themselves, with the support of Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Community InfoSource.

The project’s key objective is to seek to improve the process for refugees moving on from the asylum system. Areas of good practice are highlighted, and recommendations for change – in local services and national policy – are argued for.

While the research found that there is some success to celebrate in the experience of refugees achieving status, there is clearly room for improvement. The local housing situation was found to be problematic, as is the rushed 28 day move-on period from asylum to mainstream support, and the report strongly argues for the reinstatement of the right to work for all asylum seekers.

Click here to download a pdf copy of ‘This is my village’ now: Post-status refugee needs and experiences in Glasgow.

Survival Poetry November 26, 2008

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Torture and Survival – A Journey in Poetrycaligraphysml.jpg

If you don’t know why people seek asylum here, or want to help other people to understand, ‘Taking It Like A Man’ gives special insight into what drives people to leave their homes and countries.

Many people are questioning whether we should still let refugees come to Britain; at an international level there is a slackening of the moral opposition to torture.

Ghazi Hussein’s powerful poetry about his own experiences, plus essential background facts, help us to learn what we need to know as responsible citizens, as staff providing services, and as human beings.

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Click here to buy “Taking it Like a Man” on Amazon for only £4.95

Trouble Sleeping: 11 Dec 08, Glasgow Film Theatre November 24, 2008

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trouble_sleeping1Trouble Sleeping, a hit at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, will be screened at Glasgow Film Theatre on Thursday 11 December, part of an Amnesty International programme of events celebrating 60 years of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Co-written by Community InfoSource Director Ghazi Hussein, Trouble Sleeping is an award-winning “raw-edged and passionate” portrait of the lives of Edinburgh’s refugee community. Following the screening will be a short panel discussion featuring Ghazi Hussein and film director Robert Rae.

Trouble Sleeping, about asylum seekers struggling with the British legal system, is described by Edinburgh International Film Festival director Hannah McGill as a ‘passionate collective effort… inspiring, provocative stuff’ and is all the more remarkable because it is told by refugees themselves.

The project was the brainchild of Robert Rae, artistic director of the Edinburgh Theatre Workshop. ‘It was an opportunity to tell a story from their perspective,’ he said.

‘For refugees escaping political persecution, the fact they are political makes them committed to where they come from. To go into a strange world and a strange culture is tough.’

Rae hand-picked a team of writers with direct experience of the issues facing refugees in Scotland’s capital, including Edinburgh-based Palestinian playwright Ghazi Hussein.

‘We listened to each other’s stories and made them into a fairly coherent, complex narrative,’ Rae explained.

One character has been refused asylum so turns to a woman friend for help – although if she does help him her own life will be ruined. It also features an Iranian who poses as a gay man in order to claim refugee status while disguising the fact from his Iranian friends that he really is a homosexual.

‘Although it is fictionalised, everything is true and the individual refugees are often playing their own stories,’ says Rae. ‘You can have a legitimate claim to asylum but through lack of communication skills you can find yourself being deported.

‘Security forces say on their websites that in many situations if they can’t deport someone because they have no evidence then they will do it on the basis of non-compliance.

‘So people coming here are faced with a really complex legal challenge in a different language and documents written with a different script. And they have to try to represent what happened to them. I hope people see the film and look at the world through their eyes.’

Producer Eddie Dick believes Trouble Sleeping is a wake-up call to people who are hostile towards asylum seekers and to politicians seeking to grant longer detention powers to the police.

‘How can we sleep soundly unless we treat these people equitably and fairly?’ he asked. ‘It is something urgent for us to deal with on a human level, not in terms of extending detention to 42 days or charging people when they are not even allowed to know the charge against them.’

Rae persuaded professional actors Gary Lewis, Alia Alzuogbi, Alison Peebles and Nabil Shaban to work alongside the amateurs, but there is no question of who the real stars are. However, some of the refugees involved wish to keep a low profile, fearing that their families might be persecuted in their home countries.

One of the few actors willing to speak was Waseem Uboaklain, 38, who worked as an aircraft engineer in Palestine but now runs a cafe in Edinburgh: ‘Scottish people are generally very welcoming, but only after they know you. Perhaps a film like this will give more people an idea of who asylum seekers are.’

see www.trouble-sleeping.co.uk for more info on the film

and click here for an interview with producer Eddie Dick on the Shadowplay film blog

Refugee Week Housing Conversation June 14, 2008

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A short report on the Shared Futures seminar: a Refugee Week 2008 event in Glasgow that brought together housing providers, planners, funders, support agencies, refugee residents and community organisations.


The Shared Futures seminar was organised by Community InfoSource and Govan Housing Association’s Community Inclusion Coordinator. The aims were to contribute to the local and national housing debate from a refugee perspective, and to update partners on the development of the Door Step project.

(click here to download pdf of this report)

The Home Office dispersal scheme began in 2000, and there are now around 2,000 asylum seeking households living in the city – just under 3,500 individuals including children – accommodated by the council (in GHA flats), a private landlord and YMCA Glasgow. There are no reliable data on numbers of refugees settled in the city, but it is estimated at around 5,000.

The Scottish policy response to dispersal has been relatively positive, but adapting to constant revisions of increasingly restrictive UK policy and legislation has been a struggle. Local policy has been described as ‘disjointed…characterized by contradictions between Scottish and UK policy goals’ (Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice, 2004).

Dispersal in Glasgow was housing-led – with asylum seekers initially housed mostly in hard-to-let council flats – and refugee settlement has to a great extent followed that pattern; but over this period there have been radical changes in the city’s housing environment, starting with the Council housing stock transfer.

The Shared Futures event aimed to facilitate a conversation on housing and the wider community issues concerning refugees in this changing landscape. As a starting point, a question was drawn from the Vibrant City aim of Glasgow’s Community Plan:

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Are refugees included in the plans to

“create a transformed and vibrant Glasgow where people choose to live, and where Glaswegians are fully involved in the life of the whole city”?

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The housing conversation involved a panel of experts and plenty of input from the audience in what turned out to be a lively debate. See below for a summary of the main points covered.


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Housing Conversation Panel
  • John Wilkes, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council
  • Twimukye Mushaka, Poverty Alliance and Karibu
  • David Webster, Housing Strategy Manager, Glasgow City Council
  • Anne Lear, Director, Govanhill Housing Association
  • Chair: Michael Collins, Community InfoSource
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Housing Options
One of the key issues of the conversation was around the available options in Glasgow for refugees when granted leave to remain. Long periods in temporary homeless accommodation, particularly for households in need of larger family homes, was of particular concern.

Twimukye Mushaka noted various reasons for leaving Glasgow, but stressed that overcrowding while awaiting family housing is a big factor. There are many families stuck in unsuitable temporary homeless accommodation, often for years after grant of status. This not only affects feelings of security, but the high furniture and service charge can also prevent people taking jobs.

From the audience, Henriette of Karibu women’s refugee community organisation talked of the home as the centre of life on which education, work and family choices are all reliant. Without a decent secure home, these things will suffer.

David Webster agreed that supply of suitable larger housing must be a factor in families decisions to leave or stay in Glasgow, but we still know little about the other push and pull factors. David gave a commitment to meet with John Wilkes to discuss funding research in this area.

From the audience, Duncan Sim of University of West of Scotland gave a brief outline of ongoing community action research (due to be published this autumn). The researchers are finding that the main factors contributing to refugees wishing to leave their accommodation are: overcrowding, disrepair and feeling unsafe in the area.

Anne Lear argued that lack of larger homes was nothing new for minority ethnic families in Glasgow, but that the current national housing strategy and funding regime will if anything make the situation worse. With cuts in grant funding, housing associations will not be able to build enough larger, homes, and refugee families will have to rely on the private sector, as BME families have for years.

Anne added that this squeeze on housing association funding is not just risking a reduction in supply of affordable larger homes, but also impacting on community-based associations wider role community and regeneration activities that could play a vital role in supporting new refugees to settle in Glasgow.

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Information, advice and support
In addition to housing supply, access to good information and help with housing rights and options was a key theme of the day.

John Wilkes opened by stressing that to encourage people to stay, the transition from asylum seeker to refugee must be as smooth as possible, adding that consultation of service users is vital to develop effective services. In addition to specialist services, mainstream agencies need to be geared up to provide services to refugees, and public bodies need to be aware their duties. John added that Scottish Refugee Council is soon to publish research on refugees’ experiences of services in Glasgow.

Twimukye Mushaka raised the issue that many refugees, in addition to information on their rights, need to know more about the housing shortages in Glasgow, to understand how long it may take before suitable housing can be found, and to be kept informed and supported during this period.

John Donaldson, head of the Council’s immigration services, noted that the new asylum model is processing asylum claims much more quickly, leading to refugees moving on to mainstream housing and services with less local knowledge. John added that there are gaps in services, particularly since the end of the SUNRISE project piloted by Scottish Refugee Council. A recent good example of partnership working was the extra Scottish Government funding and Jobcentre Plus project in response to the Home Office legacy review which saw a sudden increase in families granted leave to remain. John identified a need for more joined-up thinking between local authorities, Scottish and central government, and for a joined-up support package for new refugees that just doesn’t exist at the moment.

Mick Doyle of SRC reminded participants that the discourse on asylum seekers and refugees is generally more positive in Scotland, but to make it easier for people to stay we need better communication and better-informed service providers, and we need to create forums where the views of refugees can be expressed and acted upon.

Michael Collins noted that these participative and community-based responses were at the heart of the Door Step project, before thanking the speakers and audience for an interesting and insightful debate, and drawing the conversation – for now – to a close.

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Some housing, regeneration and integration developments since 2000:
  • asylum seeker dispersal beginning April 2000;
  • major housing and homelessness Acts of the Scottish Parliament;
  • major asylum and immigration Acts of the UK Parliament;
  • stock transfer, GHA ‘re-provisioning’, and the long-awaited second stage transfer;
  • formation of Glasgow Community Planning Partnership;
  • a new housing strategy and an £83 million Housing and Development Funding Programme for the city;
  • publication of Firm Foundations, the Scottish Government’s paper on the future of housing;
  • reform of the Housing Association Grant subsidy;
  • new asylum seeker housing contracts, now including private landlords and the voluntary sector;
  • an overhaul of Scottish Government and Glasgow Community Planning integration funding;
  • the Single Outcome Agreement framework.
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Door Step March 26, 2008

Posted by Community InfoSource in about.
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equal_access1.gif 

WHAT IS DOOR STEP EQUAL ACCESS?

Door Step Equal Access is a new project, currently in development, to empower Scotland’s refugees and migrant workers to access their rights. Through an innovative mix of research, training, and the production of participatory multi-media resources, Door Step will create a network of specialist advisors who are themselves from refugee and migrant communities.

On 23 March 2007 the project was launched, along with the report The Housing, Work and Welfare Experiences of New Migrants in Scotland. To download a pdf copy of the report, click here. (2mb). By the end of 2007, funding from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Refugee Integration Fund and Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance (GARA) allowed the Door Step team to run a pilot project – First Step – in Glasgow, working with a team of refugees to produce a DVD, Paula’s Story. You can view a clip of Paula’s Story on the media co-op website.

WHO IS INVOLVED?

Door Step is a Glasgow-based initiative of two not-for-profit organisations, Community InfoSource and mediaco-op. Door Step’s Equal Access training programme for specialist rights advisors will be mainly for refugees and new migrants.

Backing the Door Step project is an active Advisory Group including Shelter, Scottish Refugee Council, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Oxfam Scotland, Positive Action in Housing, PATH Scotland, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, a number of local housing associations and refugee community organisations, LintelTrust and the Barka Foundation (Poland).

Development funding for the project has come from Oxfam Scotland UK Poverty Programme, Big Lottery Fund and LintelTrust. Funding for the Pilot – Paula’s Story – came from the Scottish Government and Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance

WHY IS DOOR STEP EQUAL ACCESS NEEDED?

Refugees and migrants contribute hugely to Scotland but too many are falling through the net of existing advice provision, ending up in overcrowded sub-standard housing, exploited in their jobs, or even becoming destitute and sleeping rough.

Fast-changing government policies on migration and asylum lead to widespread confusion about exactly what refugees and migrants are entitled to. They are often unaware of their rights here, and have nowhere to turn to for specialist information, in appropriate languages, from advisors who understand their situation.

WHAT WILL DOOR STEP OFFER?

Door Step is developing Equal Access: an imaginative training and research programme. Migrants and refugees will carry out Action Research in their communities and take an active part in producing accessible updateable information, including a multi-language DVD and a website. The newly-created resources will be available to mainstream providers of information and advice. The newly-trained specialist advisors will work with mainstream providers on placements and eventually as employees and sessional workers. They will also help train the next group of advisors. Door Step Equal Access will be a practical contribution to overcoming inequality and exploitation.

HOW WILL DOOR STEP EQUAL ACCESS WORK?

The project will unfold in stages:

  • Initial research, development and consultation.
  • Action Research by a group of refugee and migrant trainees.
  • Training participants to Communities Scotland HomePoint National Standards for Type 1 advice and information.
  • Participatory production and piloting of an interactive multi-language DVD, with realistic case-studies.
  • Supported placements for Door Step trainees with advice services and housing providers.
  • Development of Door Step website, providing up-to-date information on migrants and refugees rights.
  • Distribution of the DVD and web resources to mainstream advice providers – as a training and information tool, equally accessible to advisors and their clients.
  • Training a new group of refugee and migrant advisors.
  • Setting up a new network of advisors to share information, promote the use of Door Step resources, organise community-based advice sessions and collectively improve the quality of advice and information available to Scotland’s newcomers.
  • Evaluation, monitoring and documenting throughout the process.
  • Production of a ‘how-to’ guide for reproducing the Door Step method elsewhere.

CONTACT US

Michael Collins or Sheila Arthur
e-mail: info [at] door-step.net
tel: 0141 946 6193
Door Step: Suite 432, 355 Byres Road Glasgow G12 8QZ

Taking it like a man November 27, 2006

Posted by Community InfoSource in about.
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Torture and Survival – A Journey in Poetrycaligraphysml.jpg

If you don’t know why people seek asylum here, or want to help other people to understand, ‘Taking It Like A Man’ gives special insight into what drives people to leave their homes and countries.

Many people are questioning whether we should still let refugees come to Britain; at an international level there is a slackening of the moral opposition to torture.

Ghazi Hussein’s powerful poetry about his own experiences, plus essential background facts, help us to learn what we need to know as responsible citizens, as staff providing services, and as human beings.

coversml.jpgclick to download an order form: Taking it Like a Man – order form

contact us November 6, 2006

Posted by Community InfoSource in about.
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Community InfoSource

Suite 432, 355 Byres Road

Glasgow G12 8QZ

tel: 0141 946 6193

email: info@communityinfosource.org.uk