This is a pivotal role that provides a link between a designated refugee family and members of the family support team and/or CRRC committee. It is similar to being a family support worker but it can cross over into a befriending role. The focal point often visits the family in their home and is there to help or advise on a wide variety of life issues.
The focal point works as part of the family support team, raising urgent issues as required and providing regular monthly reports to the wider team. There may also be a team of focal points where the family needs are greater.
How much time does it take?
This varies with each family’s needs and with your own personal time availability. We aim to encourage you to communicate with your family every week or two, either a visit to their home or a phone call.
Main aims and intentions of the focal point
The overall role of the focal point is to find ways of both assisting and empowering the resettled family to be able to more easily and comfortably settle into the UK as their new home. This has and could include:
finding out what the family needs to make their home comfortable with their essential needs and some luxury needs met. See donations;
checking that the children have places in local schools and helping them with school or college applications, school uniforms and sometimes communication with the school;
supporting family members in making sure that they can access medical care (e.g. local GP surgeries and dental practices); some focal points offer lifts to appointments but others do not;
politely finding out if the family needs any help with budgeting, paying bills, getting internet connections organised or TV licences.
acting as a communication link between CRRC and the family, letting the family know about what services and activities CRRC is offering;
providing regular updates to CRRC if anything big changes (from children having problems at school or receiving awards, anyone being in hospital or if essential white goods such as a washing machine or fridge breaks down);
alerting the family support team to any concerns or problems the family may be facing that you think CRRC could help with or help advise you or them with.
What sort of things will I help with?
Be a friendly face and get to know the family and their interests, their hopes for the future.
Discover what they like to do, their hobbies, their education or job plans.
Find out if they have any problems with neighbours, schools and provide practical and emotional support.
Sometimes we need to refer a family to social services so that they can provide their professional help. This is their professional job and the focal point needs to know their own limits.