“Having worked at national charities well known for their advocacy and campaigning work and learned from some outstanding practitioners, I was clear when joining Asylum Welcome last year that I saw advocacy as a significant part of our role. It’s important for us to use our extensive practical experience to help improve the policy and practice that impacts our clients, not just to accept the status quo and help them to live with it. With the new Nationality and Borders Bill, which seriously damages the rights of asylum seekers in the UK, now being proposed, advocacy feels more important and urgent than ever.
But what does advocacy mean for a small, local refugee charity such as Asylum Welcome? Based in Oxford, we have a small staff, tight budget, a substantial but very part time volunteer team and a demanding set of practical activities to deliver daily. These give us great insight and experience that we can use to influence policy.
The first thing to recognise is that for refugees, as with many of the people needing support in the U.K., some policy is shaped nationally and some locally. We need to work at both levels…”