WTRRP drop-in centre
Helping our clients navigate a confusing system
She came to the drop-in centre having made her application for permission to remain in the UK, but had not heard anything for several months. Confused and unsure – was there anyone who could help?
He came to the drop-in centre shortly after being made homeless. His English was limited, he had no one to go to. Sad, lonely and dispirited – was there anyone who could help?
She came to the drop-in centre worried about her accommodation and finances. Her family were growing up and they were struggling to live in one room – was there anyone who could help?
These are just a few examples of queries our volunteers deal with. Clients often arrive confused, powerless, sad and lonely. So what are they looking for? Often, some help with navigating through a confusing system. Whether their problem relates to immigration, housing, benefits or something else, clients may need assistance with completing a complicated form or need a volunteer to make a phone call on their behalf.
And as much as anything they want someone to listen to them. Someone who values them as they are, doesn’t judge them and will stand by them through these difficult times.
Over the last 6 months, 120 such interviews have taken place and our clients are always so grateful for the help that is given; ‘Thank you so much’ and ‘God bless you’ words frequently heard at the centre. Our volunteers want to help and will often go the extra mile, accompanying a client to a meeting when they have encountered another barrier further down the line for example.
Following this first contact at the drop-in centre, clients may be allocated a befriender who will provide ongoing support, invited to join WTRRP’s ESOL classes if they would like help with their English, or added to the list of clients provided with food and essentials from the food bank.
One significant development to take place in the last few weeks has been the attendance of an immigration expert from Watford’s Pickup & Scott Solicitors. Coming to the centre twice a month, he provides invaluable advice to those who struggle with the immigration and asylum system.
The drop-in centre is open on Tuesdays and Fridays between 11am and 1pm at St John’s Church Hall on Estcourt Road. If you are interested in joining the team, please do get in touch – there is a chance you could help change someone’s life.
Paul and Ruth, drop-in centre coordinators