Welcome to our new series of blogs: ‘Day in the life’. This year we’d like to take you behind the scenes of Scottish Refugee Council and give you a glimpse into the diverse roles and experiences that make our charity incredible. To kick off this series, we’re excited to introduce you to Idris, one of our advisers on our very busy, very vital helpline team.
As a helpline adviser, I’m one of the first points of contact for people seeking our help. My job is to listen carefully to people, assess their needs, and provide them with the information and support they need. This can involve anything from providing general asylum and immigration advice to helping them connect with legal representatives or local authorities.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the work we do on the helpline is crisis intervention. We work with people who have experienced unimaginable trauma, and it’s our responsibility to ensure they feel safe and supported. We’re all ASIST trained, which means we have the skills to intervene in cases of suicide ideation. We also work with partner charities to address the practical challenges our clients face, such as homelessness and financial destitution.
A typical day
My typical workday starts with making sure I give a friendly hello to everyone I see when coming into the office. I head to the kitchen to make sure I’m well-hydrated and caffeinated for the morning ahead, knowing calls can last anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. I typically stretch my legs after talking to five clients.
One of the biggest challenges we’re currently facing on the helpline is the increase in homelessness cases amongst newly granted refugees. Despite the pressure, our team remains committed in our efforts to give critical support to people trying to rebuild their lives.
Dealing with tough calls is our everyday reality on the helpline. That’s why I try to have light-hearted conversation or even attempt some humour when interacting with my colleagues. My attempts at being funny might not always land, but I firmly believe laughter is really important for frontline workers like us.
The best thing about our team is that we all support each other in the best way we can. It is a very diverse team and we all are unique in our own way which makes working together interesting and a learning experience in itself. However, what we all have in common is the passion and kindness that drives our daily grind to provide a more positive experiences for refugees and people seeking asylum in Scotland.
Outside of work, I like letting my mind wander. When the weather is nice, I like to head to my local park and kick off my shoes. When I do this, it makes me feel calm and connected to the earth. I also like to read in local cafes and spend some time alone trying to understand the world from different perspectives.