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Who We Are

Care Link is an organisation that was formed in on 16th October 2004. Our primary function is to support the refugee community from Central Africa living in West Midlands (Rwanda, Burundi, D R Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Central African Republic) and offer a number of services to the community.

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Activities of the year 2005

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS & SUPPORT FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REFUGEES

Overall progress made to date on objective one:
Mental Awareness Campaigns have been successful in this project. These campaigns aimed at maximising service users' opportunity to reflect on their personal concerns. This was a valuable opportunity for victims of mental health to reflect on their circumstances within a broader understanding of the field in order for them to find out what necessary should be done to help cope with the situation in which they are torn apart. Many Africans currently living in the West Midlands, experience disturbances in mood, thought or behaviour.

Based on practical concerns of African refugees & asylum seekers at this particular moment, it was accepted in plenary that this project should focus on supporting refugee victims of mental health problem through public education, and advocacy for, human rights in the lights of immigration laws and these should go shoulder to shoulder with mental health therapy. The following are programs which have been launched since October to address service users' concerns: Aromatherapy, victims' groups, allotment gardening, keep fit (gentle), self help groups, games, badminton, knitting/sewing, one-to-one discussions, relaxation, creative art, mental health awareness drama, swimming, crafts, managing stress assertiveness social activities, outings to reduce mental health problems. The project effort was to initiate programmes like art therapy, hospital/health centre visits, counselling, and post-traumatic stress disorder management. Practical skills like basic cooking, leisure, computer, legal advice, art and craft were ultimately targeted accordingly to enable victims of mental illness to recover from assaults on their mental health and to develop the skills necessary to achieve greater self-reliance and be integrated in the community as before.

In its final stage, the project brought to light how the service users have been served and some of the victims have given their testimonies as how effective and efficient this project was for their relieve. A number of relaxation tapes and information leaflets dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder (manic depression), schizophrenia/ psychosis management have been prepared, both in English/French and some African languages like Swahili to facilitate quick access Volunteer carers were assigned to meet with service users regularly to ensure their needs were met. We also offered some benefits and welfare rights advice, information and support.


Organised events per date:

  • 30/11/2004: Visit to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BM & AG)
  • 16/12/2004: meeting Amnesty International/ Bounville
  • 21/01/2005: Relaxation exercise, Selly Oak
  • 28/01/2005: Outing in country side to meet farmers
  • 24/02/2005: visit to BM & AG
  • 30/05/2005: Foot ball
SATURDAY HOMEWORK CLUB

Overall progress made to date on objective two:
Membership contribution money has provided for the Secretary to develop a Saturday Homework Club (SHC), a practically family learning environment club of both primary and secondary schools activities in Smethwick, a deprived area. Evaluation has shown that parents' confidence and skills have improved, that they are helping children with their homework and spending more time sharing books with them.

The Saturday Homework Club project

Background
This project has provided high quality learning resources for parents to borrow and use at home with their children. The aim was to increase parents' involvement in their children's learning, and to support improvement in the children's attainment at school, in an area where there is little spare money for families to spend on educational resources.

What went on
The Saturday Homework Club was open twice a month on Saturdays. Computer software, games, puzzles, construction kits, science activities, English, Maths and books have been provided for it by Care Link West Mid. The organisation has employed three local parents volunteers (one of whom described this as their first "real job") to run the club. The resources were suitable for a wide age group, from babies to adults, with the most popular items being family board games. Science activities came a close second, and there was sometimes a waiting list for them: fathers tended to be particularly keen to borrow this kind of 'hands on' kit.

Results of the project
Within less than a year of its opening, 60% of refugee and asylum seekers from central Africa families had registered with the project and were using the club regularly - this figure has risen as new families joined the club. Volunteers reported that the parents valued the club and that children talk about the games and activities regularly at home: they are enthusiastic and there have been very few problems with attendance or absenteeism. Evaluation found that all the families in a sample of 34% of the club users were spending more time sharing books at home since opening the club; 80% of the sample were spending more time helping their children with school work; and 80% of the children were enjoying reading more.


PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Overall progress made to date on objective three:
No significant development made due to lack of funding to carry out activities related to this objective. But one training session to raise refugee awareness has taken place on 31 May 2005 thanks to kind support from members' contributions in raising fund.

RELIEF OF FINANCIAL HARDSHIP THROUGH JOB SEARCH & SELF EMPLOYMENT

Overall progress made to date on objective four:
No significant development made due to lack of funding to carry out activities related to this objective.


PARENTING

No significant development made due to lack of funding to carry out activities related to this objective apart from few meeting organised to plan fundraising events.

GENERAL SUPPORT

No significant development made due to lack of funding to carry out activities related to this objective apart from few meeting organised to plan fundraising events organised in December 2005 thanks to the contribution from Home office.

Encountered Difficulties:

  • The strategic planning was at every time under review hindered by the challenges in securing funding.
  • Contacts were not easy with our visitors as the whole year we were still looking for a suitable office.

 

Consolidated Income and Expenditure Account for the year ended 31 Dec 2005 (Unaudited)

INCOME AMOUNT £
1. Loans from Trustees 1,120
2. Grant from Home Office 3,500
3. Donation from local churches 520
4. Contributions from members 60
5. Sales of African Music 150
6. Exhibition Exhibition 300
7. Theatre (asking small contribution toward social events) 300
8. Savings 430
TOTAL 6,380
EXPENDITURE  
1. Hire of venues for trainings 0.00
2. Admin costs 400
3. Travel expenses 750
4. Training facilitation & consultation 0.00
5. Support activities 1,200
6. Rent 360
7. Mobile phones 240
8. Repairs costs 0.00
9. Volunteers expenses 300
10. Miscellaneous 200
11. Office equipment 1,780
TOTAL 5,230
Balance at 31 December 2005 1,150
COMMENTS
  1. The accumulated balance on income and expenditure of £1,150 will be considered as income at January 2006 and will be used for running few program activities for the first semester of the year.
  2. Specific project as required by funding bodies, their expenditures have been separately reported according to the Funding policy.

Membership

Membership is open to individuals over eighteen or organisations who are approved by the Trustees.

The Trustees may only refuse an application for membership if, acting reasonably and properly, they consider it to be in the best interests of the Charity to refuse the application. There is a membership application available. A copy of this application may be requested by phoning our office on 0121 565 2612.

The Trustees will inform the applicant in writing of the reasons for the refusal within twenty-one days of the decision.

Once membership is approved, the details of the new member will be kept in our register of names and addresses of the members which is made available to any member upon request.

Charity information

Central Africa Refugee Link is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 6218206 Charity Reg. No. 1109505.

Registered Office: Central Africa Refugee Link, 91 Hurst Road, Smethwick, Sandwell, West Midlands, B67 6LY, UK.

Tel/Fax: 0121 565 2612

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Care Link West Midlands was established  16th October 2004

We are not a grant making organization.