Dave Gore is the Senior Programme Manager covering Greater Manchester and Birmingham for Breaking Barriers.
I used to work for an international non-governmental organisation in Iraq. It was during this time that I witnessed some of the situations that led people to make the difficult decision to flee their homes, and the wider impact this had on families and communities.
This inspired me to want to do more. I wanted to support people in the UK who had to go through this experience, and to help them make the most of their new life after losing so much. I was lucky enough to join Breaking Barriers, where my role is to help lead the growth into new regions and further the impact of our work.
In both Greater Manchester and Birmingham we are working in partnership with local government and other respected charities as part of the government’s Refugee Transition Outcomes fund – a pilot programme to support refugees into meaningful employment, as well as providing other essential support around housing and wider integration into their local community.
We are here for anyone from a refugee background who needs us. Many of the people we’ve worked with so far are from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eritrea, as well as many other locations from around the world.
Through this programme our aim is to support 345 people across Greater Manchester and 118 across Birmingham. We began work in earnest in January 2022, and we are already working directly with 172 people across Greater Manchester and 55 people across Birmingham, with more being referred to us every day.
For me, the highlight is seeing first-hand the impact that our work has. Behind every one of the numbers is an individual who is working hard to overcome numerous challenges and move towards fulfilling employment.
One of our team helped a husband and wife. He is now close to becoming a qualified HGV driver, while she has been accepted onto an access to medicine course and is a step closer to fulfilling her dream to become a doctor. Some clients have successfully found meaningful employment, while others are working towards goals for training and education. Like Arash, who is aiming to go to university and become an electronic engineer.
It is truly inspiring to be part of this and to see the incredible contribution refugees are able to make to their employers once hired. I am also really lucky to work with an exceptional team who work tirelessly to ensure the service we provide is the best it can be.
Over the coming months I look forward to developing our network across the regions, to work more closely with many fantastic organisations that are already doing great work to support refugees.
If you’re interested in getting involved, then please get in touch, and I’d love to see how we could work together.