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A new housing development officer is now working alongside our housing team to get the needs of refugees on the housing policy agenda and to build links within the housing sector – such as the new partnership with Dalmuir Park Housing Association in Clydebank, which was agreed in the autumn.


Our 37 valued volunteers, working in every department, devoted an average of 548 hours each month to help us with this important work.


Informed change The issues our advice staff hear about every day are crucial in helping us advocate for change to asylum policy. Some of the most frequently raised problems centre on delays and problems with financial support. As a response we continue to lobby and campaign on ending destitution and giving asylum seekers the right to work, joining with UK campaign Still Human, Still Here and the British Red Cross to bring this issue to the SNP and Labour party conferences in October.


In April we released a report ‘One Day We Will Be Reunited’, which looked at the difficulties families had to get back together after being separated while they sought refuge. Following its release, the UK Border Agency requested a meeting with us to discuss our recommendations, and we hope they will take these forward to make the process easier.


An ‘asylum teacher’ for children For the first time in the UK, children who’ve escaped war and persecution on their own now have dedicated help as they apply for protection. The Scottish Separated Children’s Guardianship Project launched in July thanks to a major grant from the Big Lottery Fund. We’ve also had support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Scottish Government in getting this vital project off the ground.


Together with childcare charity Aberlour we have so far been able to give 12 young, unaccompanied asylum seekers an independent ‘asylum teacher’, to guide them through the asylum and welfare processes. Already, children are gaining a greater understanding of the importance of their asylum claim.


The total number of people applying for asylum in the UK in 2009 was 24,250


Our Scottish Induction Service assisted people of 61 nationalities, speaking 25 different languages. The top four nationalities were Iran, China, Eritrea and Afghanistan


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