SWWB was established in March 2016 in response to the unfurling safeguarding crisis in the unofficial Calais refugee camp. Our professional skill and knowledge has been pushed, expanded and challenged through our engagement with this work; it has been a return to the roots of ethical, social justice based social work.
SWWB was set up in March 2016 by a small group of social workers who felt it was crucial to respond to the unfurling safeguarding crisis in Calais. Just a stones throw away across the English Channel children as young as 8 are living in squalid conditions - often travelling alone. We didn't know how we would help when we set out. Eighteen months on and we had supported over 40 unaccompanied asylum seeking children by carrying out 'Needs and Best Interest Assessments' to support their legal application to enter the UK, we continue to key work with these young people following their dispersal across France and their arrival in the UK.
Since August 2017 we have undertaken an increasing amount of Best Interests and Human Rights Assessments in the UK. We are currently working with BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees) and we also receive referrals from Solicitors. In many instances these referrals relate to parents and their children who face removal from the UK. Those we support are in the most vulnerable and precarious of positions as a result of their insecure immigration status and, in many cases, near destitution. We conduct many of these assessments, to support Article 8 Human Rights appeals , on a voluntary basis when there is no Legal Aid funding available.
In addition to our assessment work, we support people in the asylum process, or who have irregular immigration status, to access the services they need where there is no other service provider involved. Calais showed us that social work solidarity also has to extend beyond refugee children; thousands of men, women and families are trying to enter the UK to seek refuge and we want to use our professional skill and knowledge to advocate for their safety, their well-being and to ensure their needs are met once they reach the UK or elsewhere. We do this by providing volunteer advocacy; attending meetings, taking notes, communicating with solicitors, connecting people with local agencies and using our voice to ensure that social work practice with those affected by borders is the best it can be.
Please note - we are a voluntary organisation and in order to provide the best service we can we must be mindful of our limited capacity and funding. If you would like to volunteer for SWWB or to donate to support our work go our 'Take Action' page.
As members of the social work profession we have a powerful voice and hold a privileged position - we want to use that voice to advocate for excellent social work practice with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.
We can do this in several ways - by offering our support as social workers to existing campaigns and by producing our own campaigns. See our 'Campaigns' page to find out more about our current campaign for excellent social work provision for families with No Recourse to Public Funds and our current support with Myth Busters and Lift The Ban.
In order to provide the best services we can for all those who need it we must continue to learn and share skills and knowledge. SWWB delivers training which illuminates the journey of refugees, including children and young people before they enter the UK as asylum seekers to suggest ideas and engage discussion about what best practice in this area could look like. To find out more about this go to our 'Education' page.
We seek the views and advice of those who have experiential wisdom of the asylum process and endeavour to provide a platform for these stories to be shared.