Govan Community Project is a voluntary organisation working mainly with people who are facing destitution and severe hardship. The project is dedicated to achieving social justice in Govan and Craigton by building a strong community based on equality, mutual respect, support, and integration.
Development worker Ruth Lamb explains more. “At Govan Community Project we aim to build a stronger community based on equality, mutual respect, support and integration. We aim to alleviate the poverty and life stress of asylum seekers, refugees and BME communities by promoting their settlement and integration into the wider community of Glasgow. We run a variety of community groups in Southwest Glasgow to support the social and cultural integration of those in need of protection in this country.
We also work hard to provide practical support to people in the community by providing various services and activities such as:
A food distribution service that aims to alleviate food poverty within the greater Govan area. This service runs every Wednesday and is run by a team of our dedicated volunteers.
Advice and advocacy on a wide range of issues including asylum support applications; assistance with inappropriate or poor housing conditions; food parcels; destitution grants; general issues regarding asylum support and signposting to other organisations. Our service is primarily for those in the asylum process, however, our doors are open to all.
MEAP (Minority Ethnic Advocacy Project) with a multilingual staff team offering advocacy in all forms to those most vulnerable in society. It aims to increase the confidence of clients through intercultural dialogue and capacity building.
Community groups that encourage community integration by welcoming migrant and displaced people into their new community and providing opportunities for learning and education. The groups operate from a community flat which we rent from a local housing association, Southside Housing. This allows for the groups to be accessed by local residents, fostering a strong and connected community in the area.
Govan CP celebrates Refugee Festival Scotland
For this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland we decided to link up with our pals at the Kinning Park Complex for a takeover of their regular Social Sunday programme. We will have a day full of music, food, dancing and workshops to get involved with, especially aimed at our Young Communities. The day will kick off from around 11.00am and aim to quieten down around 4.00pm. We are looking for support to make this a really great day, celebrating the young, vibrant and diverse talents within our Glasgow community.
Music is a language spoken by all, let’s get together, get creative and enjoy our community!”
Every city has its own language – the slang, the idioms, the weird words and phrases that you only really know instinctively if you grow up there. Glasgow of course is no different. So how can people who arrive here speaking another language be expected to know that ginger means juice and aye right actually means no way?
Learning local slang and having fun in the process is just one of the many ways Interfaith Glasgow’s Weekend Club helps people feel more at home in the city.
The Club runs monthly get-togethers for newcomers including people seeking refugee protection.The main point of the club is to welcome people to the city, to extend hospitality, show welcome and make new people feel at home here. It’s a chance for people – refugees and locals – to get to know each other and meet new friends.
The Weekend Club grew from Interfaith Glasgow’s recognition that many people feel more alone and isolated at the weekends. The Club meets on the last Saturday of the month and visits galleries, parks, and other sites of interest around the city.
Lynnda Wardle, project manager at Interfaith Glasgow, explains:
“We try to include an element of educational value on our monthly visits and something that introduces people to an element of Scottish life for people who are new here,” says Lynnda. “It’s a way for people to learn about aspects of Scottish culture and improve their language skills in fun and relaxed settings. We also try to encourage cultural sharing, so we create space for people to share food, stories and traditions from their different national and faith backgrounds.”
One thing that makes the Weekend Club unique is that it is organised by volunteers from many diverse faiths. These volunteers plan and deliver all the club’s events. Many people who joined initially as participants are now volunteers themselves, supporting and welcoming newcomers. “It’s great to watch people grow in confidence over the course of their time in the Club,” says Lynnda.
At the moment the club has volunteers from several faiths including Sikh, Ba’hai, Muslim and Christian faiths, as well as people who are not religious.
“The ethos of interfaith work is to bring people from different faiths and beliefs together,” says Lynnda. “This is more important now than ever. It is crucial that we make sure our communities are open and diverse and welcoming. Faith communities are very open to supporting refugees and very supportive of our work as most faith traditions have a background in welcoming stories, welcoming strangers, looking after the persecuted and the lonely. Life is very difficult for people who are still in the asylum system. The system itself excludes people from mainstream society in so many ways – financially, socially, language can be difficult. People have so much to offer but years and years in the asylum system keeps people in a separate zone.”
One participant summed it up: “We can’t afford to go on trips and this was the first time we have travelled outside Glasgow! Thanks Weekend Club!”
And another said:“It was the best feeling ever; for me it feels like we are on a family holiday”;
Find out more about the Weekend Club by clicking here
Pinar Aksu is a community worker from Glasgow who has campaigned for many years on issues around asylum and detention. She is a powerful force working to support positive, integrated communities.
While studying for her Highers, Pinar became interested in theatre and in particular the Theatre of the Oppressed methods of storytelling. She applies these methods in her latest piece of community theatre, Where are You Really From?
The play explores the process of seeking refugee protection, the journeys people take and the labels we attach to each other. Devised by people with direct experience of seeking asylum, the show includes a cast who are all from a refugee background. Audience participation and dialogue is encouraged.
Pinar explains more:
Have you read any really good media coverage of refugee issues this year? Seen any TV reports that explored the issues in a powerful way or been moved by something you’ve heard on the radio?
Our annual media awards celebrate the work of journalists covering stories related to refugee and asylum issues.
We know the media plays a big role in shaping people’s understanding and feelings about these issues. We know there is plenty of irresponsible, politically and ideologically-motivated coverage of these issues. But there is also lots of brilliant, in-depth, responsible and illuminating reporting that brings these stories to life. Our awards recognise these stories and honour the best reporting over the last twelve months by journalists based in Scotland.
Anyone can nominate a piece of journalism they think worthy of an award – you don’t need to work in the media yourself.
Just send us this form and a link or pdf to the stories you’d like to nominate. Please return forms to firstname.lastname@example.org by 18 May 2018.