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Here at ARKH, we help people everyday; whether it’s helping someone to understand a letter they have received, helping them to fill in any Home Office forms, applying for driving licences, or anything in between.
We like to think we provide a good service, but don’t just take our word for it – this page will feature testimonials from some of the people and agencies that we have worked with.
For example, we received a Thank You card shortly before the holidays from a client whom we had assisted to find accommodation and support during a period of homelessness and destitiution :
A simple act of thoughtfulness or kindness can make such a difference to somebody’s day. That is why this message comes to thank you for everything you have done for me!
Xui Qin Zhan
General Feedback from Service Users
Quotes about the service:
“I feel very comfortable here. This is the place where all my trips end in. The behaviour of staff projects confidence and security. The existence of ARKH has given me strength and hope. I wonder if such a wonderful place exists in other towns and what I would do I moved from this town. Arezou Homayoun
“ARKH helped me to better understand the people and the culture of this country, especially Yorkshire people and their culture. It helped me experience living among local people” Mohammad Mojtaba Mozaffari
“ARKH enabled me to see the people of this country from a different angle and to better communicate with them. I felt and experienced how close our cultures are despite the fact that we speak different languages. ARKH also helped me access more quickly and more efficiently the organisations that I needed to contact. It helped me understand how things work in the UK” Marziyeh Ramazani
“It is a warm and friendly environment where people are willing to whatever they can do to help. Both as a charity and community, ARKH enables us to get to know different cultures and helps us integrate in the society. It also helps a lot by inspiring hope and building confidence” Babak Heshmatzadeh
Feedback from Volunteers
“Volunteering for ARKH has made a major positive difference to my life. It provided me an opportunity to meet wonderful people in a very friendly environment. ”
“I initially intended to volunteer for ARKH for a summer, but was so impressed and inspired by the commitment given by the other volunteers that I ended up staying for three years.
My experience with asylum seekers and refugees at ARKH has had such an impact on my feelings and politics that I’m leaving to complete an MA in Social Work with the aim of working with them when I qualify.
My time at ARKH has quite literally changed my life. The work everyone does here is fantastic and I really believe it is a lifeline for so many asylum-seekers and refugees who have been dumped in Hull with no other access to support” Emma Whitehand
During the past two years, ARKH has delivered myth busting and awareness raising sessions to a range of local schools, youth centre and training centres. Besides tackling some of the most common myths and stereotypes surrounding refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, the sessions have also featured personal testimonies from people who have sought protection from the UK government. We have received particularly positive feedback regarding these sessions, including the following letter from a student of Hull Training:
Dear Ben & Hass,
I am writing this letter to inform you about my visit to ARKH and to say that we enjoyed learning about how you made your way to England. It was an interesting story and you made us feel welcome.
Thanks again for the visit we would love to come again. It was a lot more helpful for us to learn about this from personal experience.
Feedback from other agencies
We have also received good feedback from other agencies about our events hosting and hospitality. Following a recent Refugee Council event for new arrivals in Hull we received the following by e-mail:
Just wanted to thanks you on behalf of our team and clients for the excellent service this morning. The set up was very welcoming and organized, including the background music!
Frowynke Siegers (Refugee Council)
We also pride ourselves on the quality and professionalism of our volunteers and often receive positive feedback from clients and other agencies on the work of our volunteers. The following (anonomised) example relates to the work of one of Befriending Volunteers :
Just to let you know I saw _______ yesterday for her last home visit. She couldn’t speak highly enough about you, she told me she really enjoys your visits and that she’s looking forward to getting out of the house with you soon….I hope you continue to enjoy your volunteering. Thanks once again for being the perfect person to support _______.
Here is an article from the local council newsletter from 2007, outlining some of the excellent work that ARKH has offered in the past through our befriending project:
Helping refugees to adapt to new city life
When Zubeiga Abrahams fled her native South Africa to Hull she had no idea what the future might hold.
It was a journey that took her thousands of miles away from her family to a city where she knew no one at all; she was alone in the true sense of the word.
“Life in South Africa was not safe for me and I came to England for a new start,” says the 20-year-old.
“It was very hard when I first arrived. I was lonely and spent too much time thinking about the past and the people I had left behind.”
But Zubeiga’s life changed when she walked through the doors of Asylum Seekers and Refugees Kingston Upon Hull (ARKH), in Albion Street.
The centre runs a befriending service for newcomers to the city. She was befriended by Sazan Hassan, who is originally from Iraq.
“It was good to meet Sazan, because it meant I finally had someone to talk to,” says Zubeiga. “We go out for a coffee, look around the city, and I’m hoping to visit museums and the cinema soon.”
Sazan arrived in Hull in April 2006 and spoke no English. But now she is fluent after finding people to speak to and learn with at ARKH.
“Zubeiga and I meet as often as we can,” says Sazan. “Sometimes it may be three or four times a week.”
“It’s never too late to start”
Liz White is a retired head teacher from Andrew Marvell School and a serving magistrate in the city who was looking for something new to do in her spare time when she came upon the work of ARKH.
Liz is now befriending a woman from Turkey and teaching English to a class of asylum seekers and refugees at the centre.
“It’s about being welcoming to people who are new to the city,” adds Liz. “I’m 65 years old, so you can never be too old to volunteer.”
The centre is supported by Hull City Council. It assists refugees from nations near and far. To date, ARKH’s befrienders have helped 16 refugees from different countries.
ARKH is looking for people (male and female) to become befrienders, and for more asylum seekers and refugees to be referred to the centre by other agencies.
Hull In Print, Unknown Author, 2007, link to original article
More recently our new programmes of learning have been particularly well received by clients. The following feedback relates to our job skills programme ‘Employability Skills for New Communities’:
I enjoyed my time while I was on this course, I have learned a lot of things about jobs, how to find them, how to give an interview, how to send an e-mail
Ali Jawadi (Afghanistan)
I really enjoyed my time here and everyone was friendly. The course was very good and interesting. I am very happy because I learned some very important lessons about work in the UK
Waleed Abdulkadir (Sudan)
I enjoyed my time here – everyone was friendly and I particularly enjoyed the course
Mohammed Noor Eizadeen (Sudan)
I was very happy because the course helped me a great deal and for that I would like to thank you
Aslam Rohidaymu (Iran)