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Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR) was set up as a voluntary organisation in 2006, originally under the name Holding Refugees and Human Rights in Mind, with the aim of upholding and championing the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees.
The Welcome Centre opened its doors in April 2006. For the last 15 years, we offered our full range of services and regularly welcomed over a 100 people seeking asylum and new refugees three days a week, from up to 60 different countries. With the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, we have remodelled our services to be delivered over the telephone and online. We continue to deliver our full range of advice, well-being and support services through our new model.
To complement our direct support for people going through the asylum system, we also campaign for the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
In July 2020, Bristol Refugee Rights published a short statement setting out our commitment to tackling institutional racism and to being inclusive to all. Since then, we have continued to develop our understanding on these issues and to develop a plan of next steps.
We have explored the intersection between the issues of Race, immigration status and other equality issues and recognised that as an organisation working with asylum seekers and refugees, it is imperative that we build our understanding of the discrimination faced by our members and others in society due to each and all of these issues. We have committed to building our understanding of racism and how to be anti-racist; but also to continuing to address the intersectionality between the multiple and complex issues those who use our services face.
A Working Group of Staff and Trustees have developed a programme of specific actions that will be taken over coming months as we continue on our journey.
1. Training: All staff and trustees will attend a training on improving their understanding about Race and racism.
2. Workshop: An externally facilitated workshop will be used to explore what actions we can take to tackle racism within and outside of our organisation.
3. Networks: We will build new relationships and connections with Black led / anti-racist organisations.
4. Communication: We commit to being positively anti-racist in our communication and will work to develop shared language and tools to do this.
5. Service design: As part of the process for developing our new Strategic Plan, we will design services which are anti-racist, non-discriminatory and needs led.
6. Staff and volunteers: We will continue to strive for services to be led and delivered by a diverse group of people, with lived experience at the centre.
7. Action: We will continue to develop our action plan based around our three priorities: lived experience led, equalities and anti-racism; and this will include updating our User Participation Strategy and Equalities Policy both of which should be linked to the action plan.
July 2022 Update:
As part of our continued drive to be Anti-Racist, we recently updated our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policy which you can view here