Final Evaluation: Sanctuary in Wales project | Wales

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The Sanctuary in Wales Project delivered opportunities for women seeking sanctuary (asylum-seekers and refugees) in Wales between 2012 and 2015. Oxfam Cymru coordinated the three-year project in the four asylum dispersal areas of Wales, working in partnership with Oasis Cardiff in Cardiff, African Community Centre in Swansea, Displaced People in Action and Bethel Community Church in Newport and BAWSO in Wrexham. Across all areas, Oxfam worked with Business in the Community, who sourced and matched voluntary opportunities for women. The project partners in turn worked with a range of supporting organizations, employers and service providers in each of the four areas. The Sanctuary in Wales Project was funded by Big Lottery. This is a summary of the evaluation undertaken by Arad Research, and concludes with practice and policy recommendations arising from the project.
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  1 v     Final evaluation: Sanctuary in Wales Project Presented to Oxfam Cymru by Arad Research May 2015    Arad Research www.aradresearch.com    2 Contents Executive summary ..................................................................................................... 3   1.   Introduction ........................................................................................................... 7   1.1   The Sanctuary in Wales Project  ........................................................................................ 7 1.2   Context  .................................................................................................................................. 8 1.3    Asylum-seeking and refugee women in Wales ............................................................... 8 1.4   Methodology  ......................................................................................................................... 9 2.   Project activities ................................................................................................. 11   2.1   Operational overview  ........................................................................................................ 11 2.2    Activities  .............................................................................................................................. 15 2.3   Feedback on Activities ...................................................................................................... 20 3.   Impact .................................................................................................................. 23   3.1   Project Achievements  ....................................................................................................... 23 3.2   Outcome 1: Women will be higher skilled, and better advised of opportunities, and be ready to enter employment, education, or formal training.  .................................... 23 3.3   Outcome 2: Women will get jobs and be on track to gaining qualifications  ............. 25 3.4   Outcome 3: Women will be less isolated, have stronger social networks, and be more active in their local community  .............................................................................. 26 3.5   Outcome 4: Women will access more services, be healthier and have higher living standards  ............................................................................................................................ 28 4.   Thematic discussion / Conclusion .................................................................... 30   4.1   Themes related to Outcomes 1 and 2  ............................................................................ 30 4.2   Themes related to Outcomes 3 and 4  ............................................................................ 32 4.3   Themes related to project delivery  ................................................................................. 34 5.   Conclusions ........................................................................................................ 36   5.1   Summary of findings  ......................................................................................................... 36 5.2   Future considerations  ....................................................................................................... 38 Annex 1: Methodology .............................................................................................. 41   Desk research  ............................................................................................................................... 41 Fieldwork  ........................................................................................................................................ 41  3 Executive summary Summary The Sanctuary in Wales Project delivered opportunities for women seeking sanctuary (asylum-seekers and refugees) in Wales between 2012  – 2015. Oxfam Cymru co-ordinated the three-year Big Lottery funded project in the four asylum dispersal areas of Wales, working in partnership with Oasis Cardiff in Cardiff, African Community Centre in Swansea, Displaced People in Action and Bethel Community Church in Newport and BAWSO in Wrexham. Across all areas Oxfam worked with Business in the Community (BITC) who sourced and matched voluntary opportunities for women. The project partners in turn worked in partnership with a range of supporting organisations, employers and service providers in each of the four areas. This is a summary of the evaluation undertaken by Arad Research, and concludes with practice & policy recommendations arising from the project. Project activities Over 480 women participated in the project in total (see table 1 for a summary of project achievements). The project delivered a range of activities:  One-to-one support and guidance   was provided for women seeking sanctuary. The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) 1   was used to shape the support. This enabled women to individually determine their priorities for training and other opportunities. Drop-in and group activities  were offered with crèche facilities. The sessions provided a safe environment for more than 480 women to support each other, develop friendships and were a forum for the women 1   SLA divides an individual‟s assets into five key areas: (1) human assets  –  education and skills, health; (2) social assets  –  family and friends/neighbours; (3) public assets  –  local public services and amenities; (4) financial assets  –  all sources of income; (5) physical assets  –  housing and access to transport, the local environment and basic white goods. More information at: http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/the-sustainable-livelihoods-approach-toolkit-for-wales-297233 to gain and share knowledge of local services and opportunities. Volunteer work placements: 89 women did work placements and volunteered with public, private and third sector employers. Travel and childcare costs were covered but when this was used up some host organisations met the costs to enable the women to continue their placements. Employability training  focused on building women‟s skills and confidence in t he UK workplace over a two-day workshop, hosted by BITC business members and included feedback on CVs and mock interviews with business volunteers. Job coaching:  BITC trained 15 volunteers from different organisations as job coaches. Job coaches met project participants regularly to help them set goals, search for  jobs, volunteering roles or training and maintain their motivation. Company visits and employability workshops took place in Wrexham in place of voluntary placements or job coaching. These opportunities contributed to participants‟ understanding of the UK workplace and the local job market. English classes  were delivered by project participants or other volunteers and were very popular with the participants both as a means to improve communication and as a step towards entering training or gaining employment. Training to teach English  was facilitated by Swansea University and 31 women were trained who then delivered classes in the drop-ins. Friends and neighbours (FAN) groups  were established in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. These volunteer-run groups aimed to help foster understanding and friendship amongst the host and sanctuary seeking community. Advocacy training:  was carried out by Women Making a Difference and Together Creating Communities for 45 project participants, improving their confidence and  4 ability to engage with service providers and decision makers. Round table events held in Wrexham, Newport & Cardiff provided opportunities for more than 75 project participants to discuss issues with local service providers and 44 attended and facilitated the end of project sharing event. Project outcomes and impact The project has broadly achieved its outcomes as well as targets, providing valuable opportunities for project participants. This section discusses each outcome in turn. Outcome 1: Women will be higher skilled, and better advised of opportunities, and be ready to enter employment, education, or formal training. Women also received targeted training in a variety of courses including book keeping, childcare and catering. Project participants were also able to access other training opportunities, such as food hygiene and child protection courses at their volunteer placement. Project participants commented how important they felt the training opportunities were and how they had boosted their confidence and self-esteem.  Accredited courses were particularly popular with participants as the certificates reflected positively for them, not only for future employment prospects but for their asylum case. Childcare and travel costs were funded by the project and were viewed as crucial elements of support. On occasion childcare couldn‟t be arranged to cover inconvenient course times and while the strong support network between the women resulted in informal childcare some women dropped out of college courses due to problems in finding appropriate childcare. Outcome 2: Women will get jobs and be on track to gaining qualifications.   Approximately 70% of the project‟s participants were asylum-seekers and unable to enter paid employment. However 23 project participants started in paid employment. Many project participants volunteered on a weekly basis in a variety of roles including retail, catering, administration, support work and reception work, and as a result contributed to their community and wider society. Many participants also held volunteer roles at their centres: teaching English classes to other women, assisting with the organisation of drop-in sessions, and volunteering in the kitchens. Participants stressed the importance of receiving a certificate as an outcome from any training or course. The employability training sessions were valuable in preparing women for work. Outcome 3: Women will be less isolated, have stronger social network, and be more active in their local community.  Feelings of isolation were prominent for the women seeking sanctuary when Table 1: Key targets and achievements of the Sanctuary in Wales Project Project output Target Number achieved In or completed volunteering 69 89 Women pursuing education and training 68 129 English teachers trained 27 31 Drop in/ESOL participants 360 480* Employer participants 90 80 Community champions trained 25 45 * This number includes English classes run externally to the project but delivered by project teachers.
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