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Jane Holdsworth Post 1

20 Aug 2018, 11:35

Week 3 Activity 2

I had a discussion with a CEO of an Equality organisation about how we help to facilitate the relationship between the local authority, volunteer run Welcome Here groups, and Syrian families relating to the resettlement of Syrian refugees. All parties have different agendas and perspectives and these often lead to tension and are difficult to marry. We discussed the bureaucracy of the local authority, risk aversion and need to control versus the spontaneity but sometimes lack of risk management of volunteer led groups; the latter has led to some concerns about the lack of consideration about safeguarding.  Our discussions showed a difference of opinion relating to gender perspective. for example,  I noticed that all the refugees who had received Food Hygiene Certificates were male and had been told that the women were too busy at home looking after small children to take up this offer.  He noted that in Syrian culture bringing up children is the most important  job. 

Our organisation because of its function has been most concerned with proper volunteer management, DBS checking and ensuring the privacy/safety of the families.  For the CEO his concerns have been around the cultural sensitivity of the volunteers and ensuring that the families' support workers are not undermined by over zealous volunteers. We were straightforward with our different viewpoints and also shared similar viewpoints. We did come to an agreement that it would be useful for his organisation to provide a session on Cultural Awareness before we ran a session on Safeguarding, to promote discussion and avoid being in a lecture mode with  Welcome Here groups whose enthusiasm we want to retain.

As an infrastructure organisation we realise that as community organisations are expected to take up the slack of funding cuts/services there will be continued tension around the expectations that organisations should meet.