NICAB

NICAB Resources

Introduction and background to the bureaux

Citizens Advice is the largest advice charity in Northern Ireland, working against poverty and meeting the information and advice needs of some 92,000 people per year and dealing with over 320,000 issues across a wide range of advice categories. Advice is available to all communities from 31 main offices across Northern Ireland and from over 100 other outlets. We also represent the public at some 1800 social security appeal tribunals a year.

The approach you adopted to mainstreaming race discrimination advice and why.

The rural bureaux who submitted expressions of interest in participating in this project were: North Down, Newtownards, Craigavon, Newry, Fermanagh & the L/Derry hinterland. The bureaux raised repeated concerns about the potential efficacy of outreach where information resources were so limited (due to a small budget for translation). It was proposed that we needed to access additional resources to supplement this before rolling out the advice/information workshops.

The funding was very useful in supplementing or leveraging resources from other projects and we developed a successful rural discrimination training programme in partnership with the Equality Commission.  This also allowed us to free some resources to increase the amount of information we could translate.

Participating bureaux nominated topics & key languages creating a resource of posters saying, “Hate Crime: CAB can help” & a range of leaflets on: Maternity Rights at Work, Sickness Benefits, Statutory Employment Rights, Tax Credits, Workers Registration Scheme. These are available for download from our web site and bureau England & Wales have printed the posters to distribute to their network of over 300 bureaux.

What difference has the project made

The delayed start of our project due to staffing transitions has impacted on our ability to evaluate the efficacy of the project. We are just beginning to see benefits. Download statistics from the web site are high & there were large numbers for the outreach days, who eagerly lifted all the printed materials.

What is the role of community development in the project?

Although our project was different, in that it was a regional one, rather than an individual bureau, we took very much a community development approach. bureaux throughout the network were asked for expressions of interest, emphasizing the benefits of participation:

We have a small amount of funding for training, information sessions, translation services & publicity materials for working with migrant workers & clients of minority ethnic origin in rural areas.

These come as a package (which participating Bureaux need to sign up to) of:

Training

A short two day course:

  • Day One: Introductory training: increasing accessibility & awareness
  • Day Two: Level 2 training in supporting clients dealing with harassment & discrimination

Information sessions for migrant workers & clients of minority ethnic origin in rural areas

  • Information on employment, social security, housing, consumer issues, rights & entitlements delivered by rural bureaux as outreach with support from Regional Office

Translation services

Posters & Leaflets

  • Advertising services bureaux can provide to migrant workers & clients of minority ethnic origin in rural areas.
  • Providing information on employment, social security, housing, consumer issues, rights & entitlements

The invitation asked people to contact the Training Manager (who co-ordinated the beginning of the project until the Training Officer arrived in February 2009) for further information or to fill in a brief expression of interest sheet:

Working with Migrant Workers & Clients of Minority Ethnic Origin in Rural Areas

Application to Participate in the Carnegie Project

Bureau
Project Contact Name:

Role:

Tell us about the levels of Migrant Workers in your rural area Cultures/languages:
Areas of work, eg., agriculture, nursing/care, food production, etc (times/locations when advice could be accessed)
Engagement with Bureau
Issues raised, eg., employment, housing, discrimination, harassment, etc
Tell us about the levels of Minority Ethnic groups/ individuals your rural area Cultures/languages:
Areas of work, eg., agriculture, nursing/care, food production, etc (times/locations when advice could be accessed)
Engagement with Bureau
Issues raised, eg., employment, housing, discrimination, harassment, etc

Six bureaux responded. This information was collated & training provided by the Chinese Welfare Association, with whom we have a partnership in Belfast and L/Derry. Attendance at training was low and feedback suggested that Bureaux were swamped by the additional demands of the recession. It was agreed that attendees would cascade this information/learning back to their own bureaux.

At both training days and through contact with the Training Officer, feedback was sought as to what was most needed in translation and the leaflets were agreed.

Feedback also suggested that turn out to outreach events attempted in the past was low and so the Training Officer attended a series of meetings and events building a network of contacts of people working directly or indirectly with Migrant Workers, e.g., Working in Partnership to Tackle Race Related Hate Crime (Community Relations Council, NI Council for Ethnic Minorities and Police Service NI), SAG: Parenting Forum meeting re Minority Ethnic groups (Barnardo’s, Employers for Childcare, Education and Library Boards, Embrace, Families first, Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA), Chinese New Year Celebration (outreach and information stand), Unison Community and Voluntary Branch (Outreach through Unison race group resulting in an article for Unison newsletter and website about our project, advising that people can download our leaflets).

Our partnership with Women of the World was a particularly productive one (see below). We piloted a day in Fermanagh, which they coordinated and, due to the levels of relationship they had already developed, there was a huge turn out (over 100 people). In response to feedback from CABx and Women of the World, we billed the day as a Celebration of Cultural Diversity and opportunity to gather information.  We invited other useful groups, including the PSNI officer dealing with hate crime, the Rural Women’s Network, Equality Commission, etc and the whole day was formally launched by the Chair of the District Council.

What is the role of partnerships within the project?

We had many links with other organisations and the Training Officer developed a wide network of contacts but two partnerships were key to the success of this project:

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission provided a series of high quality training courses in Equality and Discrimination, which we ultimately accredited with the Open College Network at Level 4. These were specifically targeted at rural outreach and training itself took place in Antrim, Enniskillen, Dungannon and L/Derry as well as in Belfast. These have been followed up by regular updates looking at case law.  This has proven a hugely valuable resource.

How sustainable is the work

Newtownards have now developed their own Migrant worker project & have recruited 6 volunteers from Migrant worker communities. Dungannon & Cookstown joined last quarter.