This year the Mayor has adopted 2 beneficiaries for funds raised by the Mayor’s Charity:
The East Lancashire Hospice
East Lancashire Hospice seeks to ensure that all patients with palliative care needs have access to a range of services when they need them for as long as they are needed. The Hospice respects the intrinsic value of life of each person and the privacy and dignity of each person. The Hospice respects and responds to the culture and faith and beliefs of each person by working in partnership with patients and families to meet their physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs. Help patients make informed choice. Promote rehabilitation and independence through interdisciplinary work. The Hospice creates a climate that empowers and supports staff and volunteers and works in partnership with colleagues/services/organisations external to the hospice to enhance its service.
The ARC Project Blackburn
The ARC (Asylum and Refugee Community) Project has worked with Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Blackburn with Darwen Borough since 2004.
ARC aims to create a community where those fleeing war, violence and persecution can feel safe and supported as well as getting the vital practical help they need. The main objectives of ARC is to support Asylum seekers and refugees integrate into UK society, provide timely advice and support to many people who are initially desperate, confused, frightened and traumatised by the upheaval they have faced.
The ARC’s office based casework support is vital to Asylum seekers as they navigate complex procedures related to legal issues, job seeking, benefits, housing, disability, education and health & well-being. The Project also provides interpreters from its volunteer staff, within the community, to other agencies. Over the years the ARC Project has developed excellent relationships and understanding of many of these agencies and has developed a large amount of expertise and trust in these areas. The demand and reliance on the ARC project by Refugees and Asylum seekers is progressively increasing as it provides a vital service to this community, plugging many gaps of service in other agencies.
We also run free English lessons twice a week at several levels: Absolute Beginners, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced & Parents Class. English Club is on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.00am to 12 noon and attracts on average around 40 users a week. The newly created Job Club provides vital support to refugees seeking employment from Job search skills, CV writing, Confidence building, volunteering and work experience opportunities.
Every Tuesday we have a social Drop-In from 11.30am to 2.00pm where service users can come for tea, coffee and food, and to participate in various activities. The ARC project has hosted on average, around 90 Refugees and Asylum Seekers a week on its Tuesday Mornings. The Drop-In is a way for services users, new and old to make friends and meet others from similar backgrounds going through the same process, thus reducing social isolation.
Many speak of ARC as their “ family”- a place they feel safe, included, befriended, supported and valued.