Only together we can make a difference
Dear Friends of Shpresa,
It was a fairly normal morning, Friday morning in our office at Mansfield house, super busy and we’d not stopped. The phone did not stop ringing, and people in the waiting area kept just coming with different issues
We’d already spoken with 15 people who were facing deportation, couldn’t register with a GP, had become homeless, wanted to learn English, to volunteer, needed financial support, had been refused by the home office and needed a solicitor, needed help to apply for benefits, help to get the parents here in UK
I’d had to re – arrange out Christmas celebration because of the plan B, as a result I had to rearrange the toy delivery from ELBA, (these were new toys and i knew how important these toys for some of the families were, some of their children never had a new toy)
I had to speak to the team to rearrange the weekend session as few people (staff and volunteers) were not feeling well.
I had spoken to a lady who was in a safe house because of DV to help her get her children registered to the school
I’d talked to each of them to find out what support they needed via 121 and arranged appointments with our team of volunteers or staff. I had asked some people to come back to us on another day because we were full, and answered phone calls and some I referred to our partners
Finally, in the middle of it all I had to talk to a woman who had moved from a safe house to her own accommodation – all within 5 hours, climbed up and down the stairs several times and still on my first (now very cold!) coffee. Mornings like that can be pretty exhausting and Fridays take a different meanings.
Just as things started settling down, the intercom buzzed. The door opened to women and her little daughter a standing with a huge smile and an even bigger homemade Byrek ( Albanian pastry)
For a moment I thought she had the wrong address; it turns out she’d come all the way back to our building just to thank us all, especially the volunteer who took her to her solicitor “ I don’t think I would have been able to attend the meeting with my solicitor, she is so far way from me . Now my arrangement from the Home Office and the returning ticket has been cancelled. That bright and lovely moment after such an adrenaline-fuelled morning was such a boost that I still remember it now one week later.
My name is Luljeta, I’m the CEO at Shpresa Programme. There are moments like these that are only possible because of the support of our staff volunteers and partners.
As I write my team are working tirelessly to make sure Albanian people living in vulnerable circumstances get help, children and young people living in poverty have access to recreational and sport activities
However, constantly we need help, we need
One thing I’ve learned through volunteering and working at Shpresa programme is that you can do amazing, transformative work when we work collectively.
I see at Shpresa – members, volunteers, staff, supporters – as an incredible team coming together to help the Albanian speaking asylum seekers, refugees, migrants at all ages and genders to make sure that everyone feels and is safe, are well informed and helped to settle and fully participate in community life and.
And you’re a special part of this team. Because without your passion, dedication and continued support we couldn’t do what we do.
In 2022, there are other threats on the horizon. The new Nationality and Borders Bill going through parliament will mean many more people could not access the help they need and many more will go underground as the only safe options for them
We hope those with status will have access to living wage jobs and can afford housing, access education and be able to raise their children well and not in poverty
We have to continue to meet the need that will arise and to respond to these emerging challenges. That’s why your support is so crucial.
It is essential for us to keep building our services, recruit more volunteers, and to be there for more people than ever before.
You can help us recruit more befrienders, partners to advocate for people and to help get them safe place where to live, school place, benefits, access to education and medical attention.
We are about to get another 10 years lease for the building where we are based, and you can help this place to be a better one in 2022 after COVID-19 so we can see more people every day and can run more activities safely
You can help us to continue building our outreach work with people living in hotel accommodation (such as people seeking asylum) and with people experiencing street homelessness and those in overcrowded shared accommodation
You can help supporting our team of staff and volunteers and save them from burning out
Only Together, we can continue to respond to emerging needs and help out community members to thrive