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LASSN’s support of tech across Leeds and beyond, since the start of the Pandemic in 2020

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2021-07-06T17:25:26+01:005th July, 2021|Categories: Uncategorised|

In the last year many people have experienced disconnection and loneliness, and the people LASSN work alongside are no exception. Over the last year, LASSN has worked hard to overcome these barriers by putting affordable technology into the hands into the hands of anyone who has needed it, and by supporting other people with the same goal. We're long-term collaborators with solidaritech.com but this year, we had to do a little but more for ourselves... March 2020 Lockdown restrictions mean face to face support from LASSN is suspended. All LASSN clients and volunteers offered £5/month phone costs; LASSN hosts fortnightly Leeds Migration Partnership online lunchtime chats, to keep colleagues networked and in touch with one another; LASSN provides free WIFI to destitute asylum seekers accomodated by Leeds City Council April-May 2020 helpinleeds.com - updated by a LASSN volunteer on furlough furloughed LASSN staff support launch of Migration Yorkshire's migrantinfohub.org.uk LASSN's post on the use of video tech and the cost of data on migrationpartnership.org.uk is the most popular ever, with over 4000 hits April-July 2020 Our city-wide Digital Inclusion Scheme launches - volunteers collect/wipe/unlock and distribute more than 100 phones, 40 WIFI dongles, 150 data SIM cards to asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds. This is mostly thanks to the flexibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner, who let us use the grant they gave us, for this. LASSN shares experiences through Refugee Action Good Practice Hub and with colleagues at 100% Digital and Leeds' Health and Wellbeing Board LASSN volunteers managers work closely with colleagues from other organisations to develop online content, social/chat spaces, and the confidence/skill to run effective online groups May-September 2020 LASSN develops online resources for Tutors and Befrienders, online support training, as well as online safeguarding guidance a small library of spare laptops/tablets/PCs to be loaned to clients and volunteers as needed June-October 2020 LASSN partners with Leeds Refugee Forum to secure costs of improving Leeds Refugee Forum website creating microsites for each of the Refugee Community Organisations supported by LRF supplying 12 Refugee Community Organisations with laptops, broadband costs, and digital training development of digital skills for refugees and people seeking asylum, in a variety of languages July 2020 Phone costs offered to LASSN clients and volunteers increases to £10/month August-September 20 PCs and webcams supplied to Hotels being used by Home Office contractors to house asylum seekers in Leeds, York and Hull  all Grace Hosts and people living at Grace House anyone wanting to volunteer with LASSN who does not have the digital equipment to do so November 2020 increased participation of Refugee Community Organisations in citywide strategic discussions by offering £35/hr "back-fill" for time spent in meetings. LASSN starts work on what will become Events in Leeds with Leeds City of Sanctuary, Refugee Council’s New Roots and the Leeds Migration Partnership, in collaboration with Maryan from sidelabs LASSN starts to recruit and deliver volunteer training online December 2020 LASSN increases data allowance for clients and volunteers to £20 a month LASSN creates [...]

Updated Guidance for Volunteers: Step 3, 17th May 2021

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2021-05-17T17:28:10+01:0017th May, 2021|Categories: Uncategorised|

So it's the end of Lockdown? Almost. From 17th May 2021, most of the UK experienced a relaxation in Lockdown restrictions - with Step 3 marking an end to restrictions for most outdoor activities (with fewer than 30 people) and the re-opening of indoor and outdoor hospitality. What does this mean for LASSN volunteers? It means that you and the person we've introduced you to have the chance to lawfully meet indoors, socially, for the first time since Autumn 2020. So you'd like us to meet up with the person we know? We'd definitely like you to talk with the person you know about how they are doing if they are getting out if they have met anyone yet. Conversations like this can be really helpful in broaching the issue indirectly or in a way where no one feels pressured. They also allow you to share as much as you feel comfortable with about your own experiences, and maybe something about the massive number of vaccinations completed safely in Leeds, the widespread experience of some irritating side-effects, and the way that vaccine uptake has helped wider society to start opening up again There's no right or wrong conversation, just the conversation you have. You can find vaccine-related information here in a variety of languages https://migrantinfohub.org.uk/search?q=vaccine If and when you decide to meet up, please let your Volunteer Manager know, so we can talk you through stuff like PPE, the logistics of first meeting up, and to make sure the person you're meeting with understands and is happy with your plans. So why are you posting this? You're saying what you said last time. Pretty much. We want to be consistent in our advice to people to Keep up to date with (and follow) the official advice and guidance from Government and Public Health Make sure the person you support is getting the free monthly phone credit - offered by LASSN (previously as much as £20 a month, reducing to £15 a month in June, £10 in July and on an ad hoc basis from then) Proceed with caution, especially if your actions/activities could increase the risk of infection for you and the people you support And the Indian Variation? Without getting hung up on why the UK C-19 variant is known as the "Kent" mutation, whereas overseas variants go by the name of the country in which they have first been detected – we will continue to see all sorts of new variants and outbreaks across the world, as the weeks and months go by. Our biggest challenge is learning together to live safely with Covid and weave good hygiene and infection control into our everyday lives. So will LASSN start training/meeting up/doing socials again any time soon? Right now, we're mainly waiting to see how things pan out. You'll see we're trying a few activities face to face – Meet and Connect in the Park – a cycle ride by a canal, the football kickabouts. But we think it's [...]

Friends of LASSN Newsletter, Winter 2019

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2019-12-08T15:43:21+00:008th December, 2019|Categories: Uncategorised|

The Winter 2019 Edition of Friends of LASSN is out, with the usual mix of good news stories, organisational developments, policy briefings and photos. Click on this link https://mailchi.mp/d27d2ce5ccd9/friends-of-lassn-winter-2019, or the image below to get started

Can you help LASSN live up to our vision and values – and join our board as a Trustee?

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2019-06-04T08:00:30+01:0011th April, 2019|Categories: Uncategorised|

LASSN is run by a small group of Trustees, who are there to make sure our work always reflects our vision and values, and is a well-run organisation. Some of our Trustees have experiencing of volunteering with LASSN, and some do not. Some have experience of seeking asylum or forced migration, and some do not. Some have been Trustees before and for some people it's all new. What matters most is that our Trustees reflects the interests and concerns of people involved with LASSN, and that our Trustees have the knowledge and experience to help guide and support our work. With their support we are able to achieve huge amounts - as detailed in our Annual Report and Accounts, and Annual Review.  Every year or so, our Trustees review the knowledge and experience of existing Trustees and work out where we might have gaps, or areas we want to strengthen. The last time Trustees did this (in March 2019) they decided LASSN should prioritise getting more Trustees who are people with experience of seeking refuge in the UK women (our Chair and our Deputy Chair are both women, but we want to recruit more) people with financial or accounting skills (our existing Treasurer is due to step down in Spring 2019) people who have experience of working in refugee or asylum focused projects Like all volunteer roles at LASSN we provide a comprehensive induction and ongoing support, and out of pocket expenses. If you are interested in finding out more about the role, please get in touch with [email protected] or call 0113 373 1759 If you are not an existing volunteer with LASSN, we also ask that you complete an online volunteer application form. When you do - someone will be in touch very soon to talk about next steps. Here's a description of the role - what's involved, and what kind of time commitment Trustees make Here's a description of the role of Treasurer If you are interested in finding out more about the role, please get in touch with [email protected] or call 0113 373 1759 If you are not an existing volunteer with LASSN, we also ask that you complete an online volunteer application form. When you do - someone will be in touch very soon to talk about next steps.

A change to LASSN’s volunteering expenses policy

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2019-01-28T14:12:06+00:003rd December, 2018|Categories: Uncategorised|

Volunteers are essential to the work of LASSN, and we are committed to ensuring volunteers are able to claim back any out of pocket expenses they generate as part of their volunteering. In fact, LASSN gets grant funding specifically to meet these costs (and if volunteers don't claim their expenses, we have to give it back!) The last time we reviewed our Expenses policy was in 2011. At that time, Trustees capped the amount each volunteer could claim at £30 per month. In October 2018 Trustees reviewed this policy, and decided that from November 2018 LASSN will increase the amount volunteers can claim to £37 per month, per person, in line with cost of living increases. Trustees have also agreed to review this amount annually. We know that volunteering with LASSN is never about the expenses. But we also appreciate that as costs increase, so must the amount we are able to refund. If you prefer not to claim back your out of pocket expenses, we respect your decision and we will the pay back unclaimed monies to our grant givers. That said, we also know that some of our volunteers claim their out of pocket expenses and then donate them back to LASSN. If they pay tax, then by Gift Aiding their £37 of expenses back to LASSN, we get the benefit of £46.25 of unrestricted income. Whatever you choose to do about claiming your expenses from LASSN, we want you to know how much we value your contribution, and what a difference you are making to the lives of asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds. Thank you from everyone at LASSN Jon

Music Without Borders

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2020-01-30T12:55:43+00:008th May, 2018|Categories: Uncategorised|

This event has already happened, but we've left the post up, as a reminder of what we've done. A party for refugees and their allies. When: Friday 11th May 18:00 – 23:00 Where: Open Source Arts, Aire Place Mills, 143 Kirkstall Rd, Leeds LS3 1JL Everyone is welcome at this party for asylum seekers, refugees, their friends and allies – featuring Live Music, YouTube Disco, Dancing, and Food. Entry is free, and children are welcome. There will be slots throughout the evening led by musicians from around the world, showcasing the music and dancing they know and love. And the YouTube Disco will run all evening - featuring the global dance tunes which you have chosen - so please add your favourites to this YouTube playlist: bit.ly/mwob18 even if you can't make the event. Finally, we know transport costs might be a problem for some people, so please text 07845298047 and let us know. We can't wait to see you there! This event is organised by Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network (LASSN) and supported by Open Source Arts, Red Ladder Theatre Company, RETAS Leeds and Leeds Refugee Forum.  

The Immigration Act, Bank Accounts & Refugees – Training resources

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2019-12-11T10:30:04+00:0020th February, 2017|Categories: Refugee, Resources, Training, Uncategorised|Tags: , , |

Opening a bank account can be difficult  - if not impossible - for many refugees and asylum seekers. The Immigration Act and new European Anti Money Laundering directives are going to make this even harder. This short course was written to help people who support refugees and asylum seekers to understand more about why this is, and to provide some practical steps to help them. You can download all the materials from here 

Draft Minutes and papers from LASSN’s AGM 2016

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2017-02-24T16:53:03+00:0026th October, 2016|Categories: Uncategorised|Tags: |

We held our AGM on 30th September 2016 at Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel. Here are the draft minutes of proceedings from the meeting. Highlights include a presentation by our outgoing Chair of Trustees, David Cundall a summary of our financial situation by our Treasurer, Katherine Wyatt a fond thank-you and farewell to our outgoing Trustees: Ruth Woodhead, Alexandra Huddart, and Solomon Kidane, the election of new Trustees: Ruchi Gulati, Paul Broughton, and Bill Urry LASSN members voting to change LASSN's Memorandum and Articles of Association, to enable LASSN to offer help to people who may not be asylum seekers and refugees, but who still find themselves unable to get help from Public Services, and a long way from home. Thank you to everyone who attended. AGM Minutes from Sep 16 AGM Minutes from October 15  

5k small sparks funding for individuals

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2018-11-09T13:44:01+00:0018th September, 2015|Categories: Uncategorised|

Unltd have this week announced a £100,000 fund for social entrepreneurs who wish to establish a venture, or develop a new service at an existing venture, to work with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Its essentially small grants and support. Eligible areas include: -          Organising & managing accommodation for those who need it; whether in private homes or unused spaces -          Collecting, restore and distribute clothing and furniture; -          Interpretation and English language learning opportunities; -          Organising meaningful voluntary experiences that can help integrate people Link here - https://unltd.org.uk/2015/09/16/social-entrepreneurs-wanted-to-help-refugees-build-new-lives-in-britain

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