Arch helps hundreds of people across Staffordshire, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, victims of domestic abuse, people suffering from poor mental wellbeing and anyone struggling to maintain their independence or their tenancy. Without a great workforce, we couldn’t deliver our aim of creating opportunities for people to transform their lives.
Jez Chalmers works in our refugee resettlement support service, working alongside other agencies to help anyone going through the asylum seeking process. He tells us a bit about his job and what working for Arch is like.
For anybody who’s going through the asylum seeking process, it’s quite complicated and there’s lots of points along that journey where you are in desperate need of support and quite vulnerable. There is support that the Home Office will give you, and that can include accommodation, but at various points along that journey, that support could stop or it might change. My job is to help those individuals and their families and make sure they are settled in housing and accommodation and have any other support they need.
A refugee is someone who is fleeing a wart-torn or a dangerous situation, they don’t necessarily want to leave their home but they don’t have a choice. We very much want to make sure that when they arrive here that we are doing what we can to help them.
We have a place called Harbour House, and if you are an asylum seeker who has been refused status by the home office then you could find yourself at risk of destitution. This is a difficult situation that’s a bit like a weird no man’s land where you might not need to return to your home country just yet – unless you’ve exhausted your right to appeal, but you have no access to financial or housing support. It’s at this point of your journey that Harbour House can offer you temporary accommodation when there is nothing else available.
A big part of my role is also to help those who have been granted status to access the financial or housing support that they are entitled to – that can often be straightforward but at times is anything but.
I love my job, I really enjoy it. It can be physically and mentally demanding at times, but then there are moments when you have success and you know that because of your hard work, certain individuals get a break though.
I meet the most incredible characters, people who have escaped horrendous situations, such as bombs falling on their homes, losing loved ones in awful ways, and yet still have a smile on their face and have huge amounts of gratitude. They have a huge zest for life and a spark in their eyes, even after going through some awful stuff. I’m really keen to do what I can to help them.
I go home every night and know that the work I’ve done has made a huge difference to lots of people’s lives in a really significant way.
If you’re the sort of person who gets a buzz out of being there and helping others, then Arch are an incredible charity to work for.
Interested in finding out more about working Arch? Our recruitment open day is happening on Wednesday 27 February. Drop in between 2pm – 8pm to the board room at 308 London Road, Stoke on Trent, ST4 5AB.