Welcome to the spring edition of “The Story”. At the Helen Bamber Foundation, we have been delighted that so many new and enthusiastic supporters have joined our growing community. The vital work we deliver would not be possible without the support we receive from generous individuals like you who donate their time and money. Together, we continue to ensure that survivors’ are treated with dignity and that their voices are heard.
The Helen Bamber Foundation works with some of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, those who have suffered extreme human cruelty, including torture and human trafficking. In this edition, we will update you on all of the latest developments, introduce our new short film and announce the launch of a new and exciting volunteering programme: Refugee Guides.
‘I Seek Asylum’ a new short film by HBF
exploring the difficulties our clients face in the asylum process
We are proud to share ‘I Seek Asylum’, our new short film dramatizing the asylum interview process, featuring our President Emma Thompson. Based on real asylum interviews and testimony from our clients, the film offers a unique insight into a misunderstood and often unfair process. Watch it here.
Improving care for survivors of trafficking: HBF presents to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Trafficking
In January, HBF presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Human Trafficking, explaining the need for an appropriate statutory duty of care and support for victims of trafficking. The presentation resulted in a briefing paper (found here) being distributed to the International Bar Association, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Health and the Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee. We are proud to announce that in response to our paper, the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, has committed to pursuing a statutory duty of care and Lord McColl has proposed a Private Members Bill in the House of Lords for a statutory duty of care and support for victims of human trafficking.
Challenging the detention of vulnerable people: HBF’s submission to parliamentary debate
In March, we submitted a briefing paper to the parliamentary debate on detention of vulnerable people, voicing clinical concerns about the negative impact of immigration detention on the mental health of vulnerable people. David Burrowes MP for Enfield, Southgate referenced the submission in the debate, highlighting one of our client’s cases. Read the full submission here.
Compassionate Mind Therapy; a new therapy at HBF helping survivors develop self-compassion
Most of us recognise that compassion is important for our well-being. When we face difficulties in our lives, receiving kindness and compassion from others is very important in order to help us move forward. Self-compassion is particularly important after traumatic events.
Survivors of human cruelty often struggle with self-compassion. They may have been told that the cruelty they have experienced was their own fault, or that they deserved bad treatment, this a common device of perpetrators and abusers. When people are told this repeatedly, they begin to believe it.
To address this, we are offering a new Compassionate Mind Therapy group that helps clients explore and make sense of any difficulties they have, being compassionate towards themselves. Taking part in the group therapy helps survivors to develop skills to deal with shame and self-criticism that affects the ability to build a worthwhile life.
Compassionate Mind Therapy is offered alongside 11 other therapies at HBF. Clients are assessed individually to find the appropriate treatment or combination of treatments necessary.
New integration programme: helping survivors rebuild their lives
Even after being granted legal protection in the UK (as refugees or with leave to remain), our clients experience immense difficulties building successful lives here. The increasingly hostile environment, language barriers and isolation mean that even when survivors are ready to integrate into the community, they find it difficult to access essential services, engage in training, or enter education or employment. To help clients address these challenges, we are expanding our integration activities to include education in life skills, financial independence, self-confidence, family support and other community group projects.
Hannah Sampson, our new Integration Coordinator, explains the importance of this new programme:
“Something that might seem quite simple like setting up direct debits for gas and electricity can be almost impossible for our clients. If a client gets something like that wrong it can have really terrible consequences down the line. In the new integration programme, we focus on providing practical workshops and group activities to equip survivors with necessary practical and emotional skills confidence in their own abilities. We work on skills such as financial and IT literacy, C.V. writing, employability skills and career mentoring. Our clients are really motivated to get involved and become more independent. It’s going to be an exciting year!”
A date for your diary! Sunday 18th June -the Helen Bamber Foundation’s BBC Radio 4 Appeal
HBF’s President Emma Thompson will present our charity appeal on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 18th June at 7:55am and again at 9:26pm. More details will be announced in May on our website and facebook page.
Volunteering opportunities: become a Refugee Guide and offer vital, practical support to vulnerable refugees
Our clients have complex needs and often find it difficult to advocate for themselves, navigate everyday tasks or access appropriate services. To address these needs, we are recruiting a new team of volunteers with diverse skills to become Refugee Guides, working remotely or from our office in Camden with flexible time commitment. It is a great opportunity for supporters to get involved, and may suit workplace volunteering schemes. To find out more and to apply, please see full details here.
Please continue to support out work
We have a big year ahead of us and we won’t be able to do it without your support. We look forward to keeping you updated on what we are doing via our next newsletter, but in the meantime, here are some great ways to get involved:
Thank you for all you do.