On 19-20 September, the SHARE City Exchange Visit Programme invited a delegation of 7 participants from France. The delegation included participants from the following organisations and institutions:
- Isard COS - is an NGO in the south-western city of Pau that runs an accommodation centre of 80 places for asylum seekers, 60 for refugees and 20 for resettled refugees (currently - a total of 27 families and 4 individuals), housed in about 40 different apartments situated in the Pau region. Isard COS has approximately 17 employees and most are social workers. Click here to download the presentation given in Sheffield by Isard COS.
- France Terre D’Asile - is an NGO that advocates for the right to seek asylum, provides direct assistance to refugees and regular migrants, and advocates for refugee integration through access to rights, language learning, employment, housing and mobility. Since 2010, France Terre d’Asile's 'Reseau' project - or 'Network for the integration of resettled refugees' - has assisted resettled refugees to find housing as soon as possible after their arrival. Click here to download a copy of their presentation given in Sheffield.
- Forum Réfugiés-COSI - is an NGO that advocates for the welfare of refugees and the right to asylum. Forum Réfugiés-COSI provides housing forover 1000 asylum seekers. Since 2011, Forum Réfugiés-COSI has operated a programme to assist resettled refugees to find housing. Within Greater Lyon, Forum Réfugiés-COSI receives approximately 40 resettled refugees every year, to whom it provides individual integration support for 12 months.
- City of Nantes - works in partnership with institutional and civil society partners to promte successful integration through the production of integration and information tools, workshops and discussions. The city also runs a refugee accommodation centre that accommodates recognised refugees (both individuals and families). Click here to download a copy of the presentation given by the City of Nantes.
On the morning of Day 1 of the programme, the delegation met with the city of Sheffield and its local resettlement partners to learn about the UK's resettlement programme, the towns and cities in which it takes place and the roles of the different organisations involved in its operation. The visiting delegates gave presentations about the work of their organisations, the current political context in their respective cities and countries, and the activities and integration strategies and services aimed for asylum seekers and refugees. The afternoon of Day 1 was hosted by Northern Refugee Centre, an NGO providing direct assistance for refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants in the Yorkshire and Humber region, within which Sheffield is located. NRC introduced their advice and support services, including specific services for women and for those seeking employment, and introduced several of the civil society organisations with whom they work in partnership throughout the city.
On the afternoon of Day 2, the delegation travelled to Manchester where they were hosted by Refugee Action, the lead NGO partner in the resettlement programme in the North West of England. Delegates were given an overview of the resettlement programme operating in the North West of England, including pre-arrival planning, and reception and orientation. Delegates were then introduced to the different activities that Refugee Action undertake as part of their community development programme, as well as a discussion of the importance of volunteering for the integration support provided to resettled refugees. The day concluded with a session on the multiagency and partnership working of the resettlement programme and the different roles of the stakeholders involved, with a particular focus on the approach to housing for resettlement used within Greater Manchester.