The main theme of the day was how to work in collaboration and in solidarity with communities and individuals, using ideas and techniques drawn from the Asset Based Community Development movement.
As well as sessions led by LeedsGATE (on Asset Mapping), John Walsh of Leeds Community Healthcare – formerly of York Street Health Practice), and Gemma Scire of Basis Yorkshire – I offered some reflections on how groups might work more effectively with refugee and asylum seekers, and made reference to some examples of excellence provided by other organisations in Leeds – from Leeds Refugee Forum, Women’s Health Befriending before discussing the impact of LASSN’s own Grace Hosting project.
In particular I emphasised the importance of the small, inexpensive things that make life better and health more possible for people with limited options. A community centre that costs less that £30 an hour to keep open, but which provides space for more than 30 different community organisations. A conversation with someone who’s been through something similar, that validates your experience, gives you confidence and helps you feel less alone. A bed for the night, and a friendly welcome that gives you a safe night’s sleep and a base to work from. A bus pass that gives you the freedom to move, and to make the most of the city.
I also suggested some specific ways in which allies and people working in health might show solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees.
Here’s the presentation