Meet and Greet

Please note as from week beginning 22nd July 2019 our Meet and Greet session for newly arrived asylum seeking families with children will be suspended until further notice while we try to secure longer term funding and possible new partnerships.

We shall  post a re-start date as soon as it is known. We would hope to restart later in 2019 or early 2010. Thanks to all our volunteers and supporters over the past several years. We will be back!

Our Meet and Greet family support sessions happen every Tuesday lunchtime at a Youth and Community Centre based in central Birmingham.

From January to December in 2018 we had over a thousand individual visits by parents and children. On average 24 children and 21 adults visited each session.

The majority of our visitors are housed in a local “Initial Accommodation” from eight to twelve weeks. Children are unable to access education so our regular weekly session offers some respite to families living in a cramped hostel.

During our Tuesday session we organise a programme of play, sports and arts activities for children. We are very fortunate to have a pool of around twenty volunteers alongside a BIRCH volunteer co ordinator and two staff members from The Children’s Society. We have a team of volunteer cooks, kitchen helpers and other individuals supervising children’s and adult activities.

We are fortunate to be supported by students on placement from a variety of academic institutions including The SWEET (Social Work Experience Education and Training) Project. In 2018 and in our current year we are fortunate to have support from Eastside Projects who come along on a monthly basis to deliver arts activities for both children and adults. In the summer of 2018 Eastside brought along visiting artists (Mixed Rice) from Seoul, Korea who worked with our visitors and exhibited some of the children’s and adults art work in a gallery in Digbeth, Birmingham. We also participated in a project called “Art all over the place” and are again thankful to one of our regular volunteers for organizing and exhibiting our visitor’s art work.

Another highlight of 2018 was a visit by Birmingham Opera who delivered an excellent singing workshop.

Workers from Birmingham MIND continue to visit our session engage with visitors and also deliver the occasional arts based activity. In 2018 a cricket coach from the “chance to shine” scheme came in and coached the children. Many had never played cricket before. We also continued to have regular visits from a qualified female masseuse who would deliver head and shoulder massage to some of our visitors.

Thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers we continue to have an active knitting and crochet corner which is very popular.

We have small resource bank where we distribute toys and toiletries. We are very grateful to all those schools, voluntary groups and individuals who donate items for us to distribute.

If you would like to know further about the Meet and Greet please contact david@birchnetwork.org