When people in need of refugee protection reach Scotland, a new and difficult journey begins. We work with New Scots, partner organisations and grassroots groups across the country to help people thrive in their new communities.

Here are some of the ways we’re helping people seeking safety succeed.

Supporting new refugees

Last year we helped 639 households from 45 different countries to find their feet after being granted refugee status in Scotland.

Read more about how we’re supporting new refugees as they rebuild their lives.

Helping refugees find work

Over 200 people registered for our job fair to help refugees find work in Scotland. Eight organisations from sectors, including banking, social care, transport, skilled trade, food manufacturing and housing, had stalls at our event.

We also worked with nine employers – including Barclays, Bell Group, Esteem Training, Fair Deal, First Bus, IKEA, Macphie, St Andrew’s First Aid and Starbucks – to provide 78 refugees with training, mentoring and work placements.

As a result of these partnerships, 23 people were offered permanent jobs.

Burhan (not his real name) received training mentoring and advice to help him make sense of the UK job market: “This support put me on the right track with working in the UK and how best to use my skills. It also helped with my confidence and relationships. Before I could only get part-time jobs. I am now working full time as a Data Analyst. You are having a great impact on people’s lives, and I am a living example.”

Hear from more people who are thriving in the work place.

Empowering community leaders

Big congratulations to the 14 people graduated from our  New Scots Leadership Programme, run in partnership with Social Enterprise Academy. The programme helps people to make connections, build on their existing experience, and gain confidence in their ability to lead change for themselves and others.

Some of our new graduates shared their thoughts on the programme:

“When you learn how to listen effectively, how to make a good decision, how to communicate effectively and what is your learning style, you can save time and be focussed on the right thing.”

 “The programme has help me a lot to understand how important it is to be open minded, a good listener, to cooperate with others, to be a visionary leader and to dream and aim big.”

 “I feel better able to support the development of my community thanks to the connections I made during this course.”

Find out more about our New Scots Leadership Programme 

Supporting arts and culture

In countries where voicing opinions can place you in danger, artists, activists and writers are often at an especially high risk of censorship, imprisonment and persecution.

Last year, our Cross Borders arts programme supported 48 musicians, writers, film makers, artists and community activists from refugee and migrant backgrounds through mentoring, training, collaboration and commissions.

Zarah Saifey was one of 10 people to be awarded a grant of £1,000 and matched with a dedicated mentor providing one-to-one support:

 “I did not have the confidence to talk about [my creative writing] but after having sessions with my mentor, I realised I should continue my writing more seriously and even have thought of finding publishers.”

We also collaborated with Edinburgh International Festival on Refuge, a two-week programme of theatre, dance, art and film, featuring 85 artists from 17 countries.

Emma Hay, Programme Manager at Edinburgh International Festival worked with us to create the Refuge series.

“Through the Refuge programme we engaged with a number of artists from across Scotland and beyond whose works consider themes of migration, identity and inclusion.

“The majority of artists were entirely new to the International Festival programme. This collaboration allowed us to share with and learn from Scottish Refugee Council, how culture can be used not only as a tool for advocacy and discourse, but as an opportunity to create a welcoming society for those who come to live here.”

Find out more about Cross Borders programme

Super-volunteer, Comfort Anjorin said: I’ve been supported by Scottish Refugee Council in so many ways, from the Leadership and Mentoring programmes to volunteering in storytelling, podcasting, Refugee Festival Scotland and the Reaching New Scots Fund. They’ve been like a family to me. I recently received refugee status and they’ve been supporting me through that process.”

Rachel Lamb
Author: Rachel Lamb