The Integration Project Supports families arriving in the UK arranges housing and then provides a dedicated Integration Officer to support their first year of UK life. Our clients come to the UK as part of one of three Home Office programmes: Syrian refugees (VPR), former Afghan interpreters for the British Army or vulnerable refugee children with their families (RVC).
Coventry has been one of the first cities in welcoming Syrian refugees and setting up a project of this kind, so we welcome the opportunity to share our learning and insights with other professionals.
For each of the programmes, the Home Office supplies budgets and guidelines to local authorities to commission housing, advice and medical support and services to integrate these clients smoothly into life in the UK.
Coventry Citizens Advice sources housing and establishes sustainable tenancies within these budgets and guidelines for refugees on behalf of Coventry City Council, and also contributes the organisation's experience, expertise and knowledge across the whole range of advice areas towards the support component.
This support takes the form of intensive casework, complementing courses of classes and legal assistance provided by project partners.
Examples of casework support an Integration Officer provides include: registering clients with a GP, setting up benefit claims at their local Jobcentre Plus, and linking clients with schools and college courses.
The project is part of a partnership commissioned by Coventry City Council and funded by the Home Office. The project partnership also including Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre and Coventry Law Centre.
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If you would like more information or guidance about running programmes integrating refugees, please get in touch.