About Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

WHAT WE DO

We have a range of group activities that support people of all ages to develop their English skills, access services and opportunities, build supportive social networks and to feel welcomed. We work with individuals to make sure that people get the specific support that matches their situation no matter how complex.

HOW WE WORK

EMPOWERMENT

CARAS works from the perspective that people of refugee background are marginalised in the UK and can and do face a complex range of barriers that prevent access to rights, entitlements, opportunities and a good quality of life. These barriers must be addressed comprehensively through education, advocacy, and campaigns work for social change.

The services offered by CARAS are designed to empower beneficiaries by providing information, tools, resources, and opportunities. We work with beneficiaries respectfully, recognizing that the system in place to support people of refugee background is confusing and overwhelming, with the odds stacked against attaining equal access.

We think empowerment happens when people have decision making power of their own; access to information and resources to make proper decisions; a range of options from which they can make choices; ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making; and ability to increase their positive self‐image and overcome stigma. CARAS has designed its organisational mission, and services on this basis.

RELATIONAL WORKING

CARAS recognises the transformative power of building supportive relationships and has embedded clear methods of relational working in all of our practice. We believe that creating an environment in which people are valued, respected and encouraged to participate at whatever level they are able is the basis of a strong community. Our groups are relaxed and allow people the time they need to settle and build friendships which allow them to grow in confidence, contribute ideas, share their worries and ask for support when necessary. We also offer one-to-one intensive support for people in times of crisis or transition, during which we will work together to build confidence and skills.

Relational work is a method which has largely fallen out of statutory social work because of the demands it places on time. However, we believe that it is extremely valuable; it is the strength of these supportive relationships which has allowed us to work intensively and successfully with so many people who are wary of other services. We recognise that friends, family, teachers, social groups and other significant, stable relationships all have a positive contribution to make in working with someone through an identified difficulty. We operate within a culture of belief and trust, aiming to support people to achieve their goals.

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