Over 400 refugees attended yesterday’s Refugee Support Fair held at The Forum in Norwich. Norfolk County Council’s People from Abroad Team, who organised the event, brought together employers, education providers, advisors and the charity sector to offer support to refugees new to Norwich. Norwich City of Sanctuary’s Streams were represented by stalls from UEA, Norwich City College, Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library and Grapes Hill Community Garden.
The Fountain Partnership, a marketing agency in Norwich, which is working with us to offer free cv writing and interview workshops for refugees, generated a huge amount of interest, predominantly among new Ukrainian refugees who have the right to work in the UK. The marketing agency is applying to become our latest Business of Sanctuary. The workshops will take place over the summer. They also hope to provide work experience placements using their network of contacts in the city, as well as possibly providing some office space for English language lessons for Ukrainians who are looking for venues.
Kate Wallace, who leads Norwich City College’s ‘College of Sanctuary’ stream said: “We were extremely busy all day. It’s obvious that there was a real need for this event to help support new arrivals in our city. Many of the Ukrainians are highly qualified – there were lawyers, dentists, social workers, teachers – and they showed an eagerness to learn English and find work as soon as possible.”
The organisers now hope to set up a networking group made up of today’s stallholders that can continue to offer support refugees in Norwich.