In recent years the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) has become an access point for many adult foreign nationals (including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers) for their orientation, inclusion and integration as they seek to make a successful transition and to build new lives for themselves and their families. We want to design and deliver an app in several languages, plus related podcasts, which will help them to understand as quickly as possible the practicalities of day to day life in a new country:
A website with a substantial bank of first thoughts, guidance and links to relevant statutory bodies, communities, groups and charities, that can provide up to date information on areas of interest to foreign nationals coming to live in our community
A community of practice in which both providers and beneficiaries can share knowledge, understanding and experiences in three different languages (currently Arabic, Polish and Somali)
The model that has been developed as a prototype and proof of concept in the Belfast environment is being recognised as one that has potential for use in other geographical areas:
- Locally in Northern Ireland
- Nationally in the British Isles
- Internationally, especially in countries where there are significant numbers of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
The concept can be disseminated through the development of online resources, related face to face training and mentoring so that other organisations can become aware of what has been done in Belfast and can design, document and deliver localised solutions to similar challenges that they encounter in the community where they work.
In addition, the BARTER concept has been identified as a possible model for further development. Based on an amalgam of the TIMEPEACE concept under development in London and TIMEBANKING developed by Volunteer Now in Belfast, there is an opportunity to create an App through which individuals can exchange skills, experience and knowledge; for example, English Language practice in exchange for music lessons, Cooking in exchange for help with the garden. Preliminary discussions have indicated that an innovation of this type has considerable potential to build harmonious and sustainable relationships among members of both local and migrant communities.