I am a Community Development Worker for SAVTE in Sheffield. My Fellowship concerns refugee integration. I work on council estates with working-class communities and the refugees who are placed there. Often overlooked in the refugee integration process, host communities can feel left behind as support for refugees is brought in from other parts of the city. But what if these communities were actively engaged in the process?
Living on a deprived estate in Sheffield, I left school at 16 with few prospects but my life started to change when I began to volunteer, teaching basic English to local refugee families. I grew in confidence and developed new skills, eventually gaining employment. This approach has multiple benefits, having a positive impact on all involved.
My Fellowship enables me to visit and learn from some of the great projects in Amsterdam and San Francisco, looking at the various ways in which they involve host communities. Alongside dissemination of this learning to the refugee networks I'm involved with, my work has influenced the strategic direction of my own organisation and I'm passionate for others to be impacted too, bringing benefit and change to our great communities.