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Room to Heal Spring Newsletter 2017

Newsletter 31 May 2017

Room to Heal Spring Newsletter 2017

Celebrating a decade of Room to Heal

A heat wave is here, the election is near, but more importantly, Room to Heal is celebrating 10 years of wonderful, challenging existence. We have come a long way since the five men who first made up our community gathered in the garden at Culpeper to talk and share stories around the fire. Over the last decade, the community has served as a home and a lifeline to hundreds of people who have survived torture and human rights abuse.
Our anniversary is a time for reflection and for sharing what we have learnt with others. Of course, it is also a chance to celebrate…
Join us for our 10th Birthday Summer Party on Friday June 30th
Room to Heal Film
A big thank you to City Bridge & the Media Trust.
Room to Heal go to the UN in Geneva
We were honoured to be invited to the UN Fund For Victims of Torture: ‘Torture in the Context of Migration’ expert workshops and public event. The UN Fund, who have funded us for the last six years, recognise Room to Heal’s unique and pioneering approach in the field of torture rehabilitation.

The workshops brought together human rights defenders and frontline workers from all over the world, as well as representatives from the Convention Against Torture. It was an amazing chance for us to share our community model and to learn from others, making international connections that will grow in the coming years.

Read our daily Geneva Blog and watch our director, Mark Fish’s speech on the origins and work of Room to Heal. 

Yusrah, from the Refugee Law Project in Uganda, Izzy, Mark and Chloe from Room to Heal, outside the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Room to Heal Community & Beyond
Building Connections

The casework team have had a successful past few months and forged a number of relationships with other organisations. We are thankful to the following who have opened up opportunities for those who are prevented from working. Most recently, Stories On Our PlateLuminary Bakery and Africa Writes have enabled members to continue to develop their skills, whilst they wait for the stability of a resolved asylum claim.
Read about our talented member Bridget, who after getting her papers began a coding course.

Community Forum

We recently held our quarterly Community Forum, a space for all our members to share opinions and ideas on the running of Room to Heal. This month we reviewed our Community Guidelines by reflecting on two key principles of respect and responsibility. It was beneficial to see how we are living up to these values, and the areas where we can improve. As the Forum develops and gains momentum we’re excited to find new ways to encourage member involvement and make Room to Heal an even more cooperative community.

The political landscape

With only a couple of weeks until the General Election, we’d like to draw attention to a few things:
– Promote the Migrant Vote! A collaborative project launched by Migrants Organise to ensure the interests of migrants are properly represented.

– The Home Office recently announced a new policy which will review whether all refugees require protection at the end of a five year initial period of leave. Read more about its negative impact here on our blog.

– As part of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” for migrants announced in 2012, which included making it tougher for people without status to get a job, rent a flat, drive a car, open a bank account, the UK is now starting ID checks in hospitals. “Overseas visitors” will be expected to pay for non-emergency treatment. This will seriously impact the health of our members and make attempts to lead a normal, dignified life even harder. Read more from Docs not Cops.

A Garden Growing

It has been nice to wake the garden up again after winter. In the dark months the garden seems bleak and it’s an important moment when we all go out and find the new shoots – see that new life is emerging, that it’s there waiting, and we begin work for the new season. “We laugh a lot in the garden”

We have an ambitious list of things to grow. New this year is the peanut – they have already sprouted and are above ground, alongside established favourites such as okra, sweetcorn, sukuma wiki (purple sprouting broccoli), spinach, potatoes and salads.

We planted roses to remember lost family – “This is where I first met my friends, where good things began for me.” and “this marks the place where I have my roots.”

There have been many big discussions – can you harvest if you don’t water? Who is working harder the men or the women? Can we grow the things we miss from back home? Is it worth growing sugar cane and banana even though they won’t fruit?

In amongst the jokes, songs, plants and hard work the garden and community grows.

Join the Room to Heal team!
We are currently recruiting a part-time Group Counsellor/Psychotherapist. Read more here.
We are also looking for a General Volunteer. Read more here.

Fundraising Update

We would like to thank all loyal friends and supporters over the last ten years who have been instrumental in Room to Heal’s development and flourishing. Indeed, we’d like to sincerely thank the following funders for supporting us over 2016-17:

Comic Relief
United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture
City Bridge Trust
Lloyds Bank Foundation
Tudor Trust
Sutasoma Trust
Evan Cornish Foundation
AB Charitable Trust.

And thanks to these new funders:
Henry Smith
Garfield Weston Foundation
Peter Stebbings Memorial Charity

If you’d like to support us or become a friend of Room to Heal, come along to our Summer Party to meet us all and find out more about the community. Or feel free to donate to our Just Giving page & support Dame and Mamadou who are braving the British 10k on July 9th to raise money for Room to Heal.

“Since I came to Room to Heal I am getting help from them. So one day when my life changes, I can also help the world as Room to Heal does.” ~ Dame

“Room to Heal have helped me a lot and support me with my life in the UK. I am happy to be doing this run. Please support me with this.” ~ Mamadou

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