The OpenDoors Project
HealthProm has a long history of working with vulnerable children and families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Our expertise and connections with this region made us aware of the needs of migrants from this part of the world living in the UK. In 2019, HealthProm made the decision to launch a new initiative to assist UK based migrants from these key regions in need of greater support.
The project so far
The aim of our OpenDoors project is to provide support for vulnerable migrant women from Eastern-Europe and Central Asia living in the UK. HealthProm already has a broad range of expertise in this part of the world – the purpose of this project is to assist migrants from this region living in the UK who struggle with the following issues:
- Social isolation
- Worsening mental health
- Low level of English
- Legal issues; particularly, visa or domestic abuse
This project became all the more urgent during the Covid-19 pandemic, when these issues got worse for a majority of the population, and particularly migrant women. According to the Migrant Observatory, migrant women coming from outside of the EU are 20% more likely to be unemployed in the UK than male migrants. Joblessness whilst living abroad can lead to a whole host of other issues; including worsening mental health and social isolation, financial dependence, inability to escape domestic abuse situations, and instability of migrant status.
In 2020 we organised the following online activities to attempt to counteract some of these negative affects:
Weekly meetings for migrant women seeking guidance on accessing employment in the UK.
Our experienced Career Advisors conducted webinars on topics like: Online Job Search, How to Write an Effective CV and Cover Letter, How to prepare for a Job Interview, Volunteering etc. In conjunction with these sessions, we also organised one-to-one sessions administering mock interviews, CV checks and online job searches.
Each session was attended by at least 20 women, in total we provided employment support and training to 136 women.
Legal sessions for migrant women:
During these sessions we provided information and advice on visa and immigration issues, family law and domestic abuse.
At least 18 women attended each session and received advice on various law-related issues. In total, 20 women received support through these sessions, and two women in need of urgent legal help were assisted.
Online English classes:
Our classes were split into two sessions per week. The first was a speaking club, intended to increase participants’ confidence with conversational English and reduce the feeling of isolation common during the pandemic. The second class was a beginners level lesson, intended for migrants in the UK with a very low level of English.
Each class was attended by at least 10-12 women, the maximum attendees per session was 25. In total, 64 women participated our English classes over 6 months, many of them returning participants.
Mental health support group:
This mental health support group was specifically designed to help those vulnerable women whose mental health was negatively affected by the lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic. The average number of women for each group was 10, and individual mental health consultations with professional psychologists were offered. Overall, we helped 38 women through our mental health support.
What’s next for the project:
OpenDoors is restarting in September 2021!
We are very proud of all the work we have done so far, and even more proud to announce that we will be continuing our work in September 2021. The national lottery has generously awarded us £9395 to help us continue with this vital work, and we can’t wait to get back to working with our beneficiaries as soon as we can.
This time you can expect to see our Job Club, English Classes, Legal Sessions, and Mental Health Support group back up and running, with an additional tech-skills class to help migrant women build up basic computer skills that have become all the more essential during Covid-19. Please like us on Facebook to support our charity and keep in touch with all of our upcoming events!
All of the activities in 2020/2021 were possible thanks to funding from Camden Giving Social Action Plan (£1,500), National Lottery Community Fund (£9,380) and Citi Foundation Covid-19 Programme (£10,000), and of course our dedicated volunteers and speakers, of which we had 13 amazing individuals supporting us!
If you would like to volunteer for this project, please click here to get in touch and see how you can get involved!