The Bridge Plus+ is an advice centre for refugees and migrants settled in Norwich. We have our office in Sackville Place on Magdalen Street. Here a small team of staff (Béatrice, Jo, Judy and Manuel) work endlessly, aided by my fellow volunteers Sue and Elizabeth, to advise and support our service users from all over the world.
Many problems and frustrations accompany settling in the UK, with its “hostile environment” and non-user-friendly bureaucracy. Our clients regard us as friends – a huge vote of confidence in what The Bridge Plus does. As friends, we eat together regularly, at our monthly Community Cuisines. These are great fun and delicious. Community members volunteer to prepare a dish for lunch from their culinary culture, so we often tuck in to – spiced chicken hotpot, cassava and rice cooked with spices and herbs we have never heard of but which tingle our tongues, stuffed vine leaves from Kurdistan, Benye from the Congo, finger-lickin’ veggies, African-style, luscious baklava from Turkey and Russia….. There is always a feast of global tastes, and always plenty of chefs and even more diners! They are lovely occasions.
Sometimes we take the opportunity to share information about complex problems such as Universal Credit or difficult issues such as cancer prevention with experts, all seeking to make life in Norfolk a little bit easier for migrant communities – something that has been done in our city for centuries. Come and join us sometime. You would be very welcome.
Report by Frances Middleton (volunteer at The Bridge Plus+). If you would like more information about our work, please contact [email protected]