SWWB is now a registered Charity!

Hoorah! We have just had confirmation that we are now a registered charity - this will allow us to continue to develop and grow our work. Our Charity Registration number is 1174000. If you would like to get involved with SWWB check out the 'join us' page and get in touch. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported us to get this far. SWWB believes in community and activism based social work rooted in values of social justice and internationalism. We are experimenting with a model of social work that can be used to promote the rights and dignity of those excluded, marginalised and discriminate against by borders. 



We are delighted that our colleagues at BASW have endorsed SWWB pledge for NRPF families. The pledge highlights concerns raised by colleagues in the voluntary sector that S17 provision for families with NRPF is falling short of adequate provision that allows children to thrive - with their families. 

You can read the BASW endorsement is here and below - thank you for supporting SWWB and check out the briliant work that Project 17 and Migrant Family Action are doing to challenge inadequate provision for NRPF families. 

In solidarity. 

SWWB Team. 

Alleged misuse of Section 17 funding and use of NRPF worries BASW

Increasing concern about alleged misuse of Section 17 funding and families who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) has led BASW to call for greater funding from councils to support penniless refugee and asylum-seeking families.

Social Workers Without Borders (SWWB), together with their partners, raised the issue recently. They highlight how such families are often left with no state benefits and no legal route to work, with discretionary funding made available for children only, leaving parents in a destitute situation.

Under Government legislation, some families will have a residence permit for the UK which does not grant them claims on state help. Such families have no access to such benefits as tax credits or social housing, hence the term No Recourse to Public Funds.

The adults in such families cannot (legally) work. Those who do work are vulnerable to being exploited by criminal bosses and might not be being paid the minimum wage, let alone sick pay or holiday pay.

Section 17, of the Children Act 1989, allows local authorities to provide a form of emergency funding to families who are destitute.

However, there have been worrying reports that in practice officers may be encouraged to provide support only to the child or children of such families, rather than to the whole family, with the result that the child or children become ‘looked after’ (e.g. Section 20).

It is suspected that this practice is a direct result of the underfunding of local authorities.

BASW is calling for local authorities to be adequately funded to ensure that when families are left destitute by the affects of current immigration legislation, social workers and their managers are not put in the unenviable position of having to provide remedial services without the resources to do so.

BASW endorses the SWWB pledge, and you can visit their website to sign their petition here and access more information on families that have labelled as having no recourse to public funds here: http://www.nrpfnetwork.org.uk/information/Pages/Social-Services.aspx

Nick, a SWWB social work volunteer, tells us about his recent visit to Calais with Help 4 Refugee Children

We all met in London, and set off in two cars, getting the train over to Calais with 9 other volunteers. Once in Calais we picked up a van that Care4Calais (NGO) had agreed to loan to us, and I got behind the wheel following the cars to a supermarket where half the volunteers had gone ahead to make up food packages to give out.


The food packages were made up of fresh fruit, biscuits and dates, along with bottled water. Some quite worrying information came out while we were over for the trip, that drinking water for the camps had been tainted with tear gas. We took our food parcels to a camp near Dunkirk, we distributed the parcels as evenly as possible, attempting to single out children and families first. The camp had not received any food yet that day, the people in the camps have no other means to get food as they have no income, and therefore they rely on charities and community organisations to feed them.


We started the day’s arts and crafts activities in the woods, out of direct sunlight and where a number of families had camped. The children ran around gathering up friends from across the camp, the children were so exited and happy to be getting their hands on paint, colouring pens and crayons, filling every single canvas that was taken over with their national flags, British flags, princesses, dogs, cats etc. Anthony (an artist and volunteer) had prepared a giant canvas for all of the children to use, which was entertaining to watch, as it was covered in paint within minutes of them getting their hands on it. It was evident to see how appreciated the arts activities were, as it gave the children a chance to escape their usual day to day situation, of spending long periods of time in the camp with little or no entertainment.


During the arts activities, one of the volunteers from Help4Refugee Children visited families that she knew from previous trips, for an update on how they were doing and to establish need for charity support and intervention. I am unsure if this is undertaken by any other community organisations, both in the UK or France, and due to the nature of the camps now being so spread out and people constantly moving or attempting to get to the UK, it is difficult to keep a track of people.


However the families do tend to stay settled on a camping space, so it would be possible to keep a track of each family and their needs. I believe there is scope for social work intervention with these families, and think that this would support the families with the horrendous situation they find themselves in. If a social worker / volunteer could accompany Help4Refugee Children on each trip, and visit each family in the camps to gather information, it would at least show accurately the severity of the situation these families find themselves in, as the government and media may take information gathered by a social worker, who assesses care and support needs professionally as verbatim. This would also build relationships with SWWB, between families and social workers (so they don’t see us as a tool for government oppression) and if the families end up making it to the UK, we could use our knowledge of a network of charities and community organisations to support these families effectively, having already identified care and support needs -making relevant referrals to mental health services etc. if needed.

SWWB Charity Commission Application Submitted!

Hello to our lovely followers, colleagues, comrades and beneficiaries. Thank you for all of your support over our first year. We are pleased to say that we have just submitted our application to the Charity Commission to register as a CIO and will wait with baited breath for the outcome!


It's been a whirlwind of a year and we couldn't have got to where we are now without your trust, confidence and patience. Follow our Twitter account and keep an eye on our blog and events calendar to see what we're up to and go to our 'Direct Work' page to read some of our success stories from the past year. 

The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.