The Refugee Support Project came into being in December 2015 when Dundee began to receive and resettle refugees from Syria as part of the Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) Scheme. Since then, our project has constantly evolved and grown to meet the changing needs of those who arrive here through the VPR and the Vulnerable Children’s Scheme which assists refugees from the wider region.
When the first Syrian refugee families came to Scotland, we met them at the airport and have continued to support them and new arrivals ever since, with each family having a named Refugee Support Officer (RSO) working with them. We can now see the rewarding results of our work with the first families, they are settled in their new surroundings, gaining confidence and independence, are speaking English, getting into employment and are well-placed to help support other new families in settling into life in Dundee.
The Refugee Support Team is the first point of contact between the refugees and Dundee City Council as well as all the other agencies supporting them such as social work, housing, and the NHS, to provide information about appointments and other services. We are therefore involved with every aspect and stage of early and developing integration.
We have Arabic speaking Refugee Support Officers and volunteers who have a strong cultural awareness as well as local knowledge, and contribute to the welcoming atmosphere in the city.
Refugee Support Officers (RSOs) keep in regular contact with the families, ensuring they know where to go for support, information, and financial and housing needs and accompany the families to appointment with other services.
Amina regularly organises activities, events and occasional trips for the women who use our services to encourage them to meet new people and learn new skills. This takes place in partnership with our Sabbaya Dundee project. We welcome and encourage the newly resettled ladies to join us and take part, and this has been a great way for them to make new friends and feel part of the local community.
“The way people have treated us here compared to Lebanon is a big difference. People are kind and helpful. The services from Amina were excellent and nothing should be improved. Amina has helped us to get to know Dundee and all the facilities.” (Newly arrived refugee)
“Amina Centre is a great place. The staff are very nice and welcoming, the services which they provide help us a lot in our daily life. If there was no Amina, our life would be very difficult” (Client)
“Amina is the number one place which I always come to it to ask for help. Amina staff are great and always there for us when we need anything” (Client)