New Scots Principles Guide Work across The Strategy
Integration from Day One
This is the key principle of the New Scots strategy: that all refugees and asylum seekers should be supported to integrate into communities from day one of arrival.
A Rights Based Approach
The New Scots strategy aims to empower people to know about their rights and understand how to exercise them. Across the New Scots themes, actions are taking place to understand rights and entitlements and to make this information accessible for refugees, asylum seekers and people who are working to support them.
An example of New Scots supporting understanding of rights and promotion of a rights based approach is engagement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to support research for their report: ‘Access to healthcare for people seeking and refused asylum in Great Britain: a review of evidence.’ Although a UK level report with limited engagement in Scotland, the New Scots Health and Wellbeing theme facilitated involvement of asylum seekers as participants in the research and attended a session with EHRC to help develop and inform the recommendations that formed part of the report. All refugees and asylum seekers living in Scotland are entitled to access healthcare.
Over 700 refugees and asylum seekers took the time to share their lived experience and offer their views to help shape the New Scots strategy. A number of approaches are continuing to provide opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers to shape and inform the strategy’s implementation. This includes:
- the direct involvement of refugees and asylum seekers in theme groups;
- refugees took part in a roundtable discussion at the first New Scots Leadership Board on 20 June 2018;
- involvement in the planning and delivery of the first New Scots Community Gathering event in April 2018;
- the Health and Wellbeing theme is connected with Mental Health Foundation work to help build capacity and provide training for refugees and asylum seekers to become volunteers and take forward local action around mental health and wellbeing; and
- the British Red Cross launched the Voices Network in Scotland in November 2018. This will provide a supported route for people with lived experience to share this with New Scots partners and help to inform the delivery of the strategy.
In 2018, the theme of Refugee Festival Scotland was ‘A Festival for Everyone’. Over thirty refugee community groups took part in the festival – sharing music, poetry, stories and celebration from the Highlands to the Borders.
In September 2018, the Scottish Community Development Centre published the ‘Widening the Welcome’ report, which highlighted good practices and recommendations for improving local communities’ welcome and involvement in supporting refugee integration.
Partnership and Collaboration
Partnership and collaboration are at the heart of the New Scots strategy. It would not be possible to deliver the actions of the strategy without the commitment of partners across public services, government, third sector and communities. The strategy is led in partnership by the Scottish Government, COSLA and the Scottish Refugee Council.
In April 2018, Oxfam, Amnesty Scotland, Refuweegee, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, and the Scottish Refugee Council worked together to run a national conference for community, faith-based and refugee-led organisations to share expertise and best practice, and support capacity building. This was the first New Scots Community Gathering event.