Voices in Exile support refugees, asylum seekers and those with no recourse to public funds. Their ethos is multi-faith and human rights based and their approach is collaborative and holistic.
First and foremost Voices in Exile offer practical and legal support to those unable to access the justice system and services such as healthcare, but once these basic needs are taken care of they also provide their members with access to a range of creative programmes. Through these programmes VIE Seeks to help people find positive ways to address their needs, build skills and work towards integration.
VIE received a £10,000 grant from Enjoolata to help fund these group activities which included sewing on the ONCA Barge at Brighton Marina, gardening and cooking activities with Common ground in Stanmer Park, a cultural visit to Brighton Museum and Pavillion and pottery and sculpture classes at Hanover Community Centre.
VIE have reported that the activities have already had a significant impact on members – improving their sense of connection to Brighton, reducing isolation and encouraging members to participate independently in beneficial wellbeing and creative activities and groups in the area.
VIE have helped their members gain access to free classes such as women’s yoga at the Brighton Natural Health Centre, Men’s Pilates at the Meeting House, International Women’s group at Jubilee Library and stone carving, woodwork, textiles and photography at Fabrica.
Outcomes of the workshops have included
- Improved knowledge and confidence to access local services and activities
- Practise using digital devices and the internet
- Participation in health and wellbeing activities
- Improved social networks and connections to the city
- Increased confidence in everyday English and participation in / leading group workshops
- Access to other groups and volunteering
One member commented ‘I would like to thank you (Voices in Exile) for your help and support for me and my family, especially Miss Hayat who gave me support and was by my side in my most difficult times. I used to feel lonely and isolated but thanks to you I now feel that I am not alone’.
Support comes in many forms and whilst it is vital to address the essential basic needs of individuals, Voices in Exile’s work in the community is a reminder that there is more to life beyond basic needs and everyone should have the same opportunities to live their life to their full potential.