Day 1 of the visit programme was hosted by the city of Sheffield and the partner agencies and organisations with whom it delivers the resettlement programme in the city. Delegates met with Councillor Julie Dore, the Leader of Sheffield City Council, to discuss political leadership and engagement in refugee resettlement, and exchanged experiences and approaches to reception and integration support for resettled refugees with the city's health, housing and education services. Click here to download the presentation of the city of Aachen given by the visiting delegation during the morning session.
The remainder of the programme was shaped according to the delegation's pre-selected interests and priorities of education, volunteering and integration support. The afternoon of Day 1 was spent at Lowfields school in Sheffield, enabling delegates to learn about how the school facilitates learning for pupils for whom English is an additional language, and supports recently arrived parents to become involved in their children's education. Delegates also met with recently resettled pupils and their parents to discuss their experiences in Sheffield, and hear their recommendations for educational aspects of resettlement programmes.
On Day 2, the delegation travelled to the port city of Hull and participated in a programme hosted by the British Refugee Council's resettlement team in the city. Ahead of the imminent arrival of a group of Ethiopian Oromo refugees from Kenya into Hull, Refugee Council brought together resettlement stakeholders and partner organisations from across the city, to learn about the background of the new group and discuss the support they could offer to the programme. The delegation and other attendees heard from Oromo refugees previously resettled to the city of Sheffield, both about the situation in Ethiopia and conditions in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Discussions on the presentations and the programme in Hull continued over a networking lunch.
During the afternoon, the delegation met with Refugee Council's Volunteering Coordinator and volunteers working on the programme, and exchanged ideas and approaches to enhancing resettlement programmes through volunteering. The final part of the afternoon was spent in a focus group discussion about reception and integration support with Refugee Council staff and a group of Congolese and Iraqi refugees previously resettled to Hull. The discussion took in topics as varied as housing and accommodation, university education, the views and reactions of local communities to resettlement and language-learning, in both Germany and the UK.
For more information on the SHARE City Exchange Visit Programme, please visit the programme's pages here.