A message from Breaking Barriers CEO, Matthew Powell

Our refugee clients, staff and volunteers often describe Breaking Barriers as a family – we provide much more than employment support to each other and during times of crisis this is even more important than ever. As a team, we are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic with the health, well-being and safety of our clients, staff and volunteers at the forefront of our minds. Earlier this week, we took the difficult, but necessary, decision to suspend all face-to-face services and close our Head Office following government advice. Our staff continue to provide remote support to our refugee clients by telephone, email and online video sessions where possible. We are also translating government advice and giving details of free online training refugees can access.

Our priority over the coming weeks is to continue to develop our remote support so that we can help our clients through this difficult period. Many of our refugee clients do not have access to a laptop or internet access so we are working hard to find solutions so that we can continue to provide a vital life-line. We have always focused on highlighting positive stories and we’re extremely proud of each and every one of our refugee clients. However, the reality of refugees’ journeys is that many are experiencing financial hardship, homelessness and physical and mental health conditions. Our key aim is to help our clients through these challenging times.

While our face-to-face services will remain closed until further notice, we want to encourage anyone who needs our support to please contact us – if we cannot help you ourselves we will put you in touch with other organisations who can. https://breaking-barriers.co.uk/contact/

I want to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers who give their time so generously. If you are able to offer remote support to clients or could lend us your expertise while we navigate these uncharted waters we would be enormously grateful. Please email us at volunteer@breaking-barriers.co.uk

This is a time when we all must pull together and we will be working with our corporate partners and fellow refugee charities to ensure that we respond with the support our refugee clients need.

We will share information about our plans and any updates regularly on our website and social media channels, as well as directly with our clients and volunteers.

Matthew Powell