Asylum seekers and refugees experience substantial barriers to successful transition to a new society. The purpose of this paper is to explore the value and meaning of a community drop-in service offering social support for refugees and asylum seekers in the northeast of England and to identify the occupational preferences of the service users.
A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews was conducted with refugees and asylum seekers using a community drop-in service. In total, 18 people participated from ten countries. Data were analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis.
The value and meaning of the service was expressed through four key areas: the need to experience a sense of community; being able to make an altruistic contribution within the community; the need for societal integration; and having the opportunity to engage in meaningful and productive occupations.
Community and altruism have profound cultural meaning for asylum seekers and refugees and the need to integrate, belong and contribute is paramount to successful resettlement. Community-based drop-in services can aid this at deep, culturally relevant levels. This study may inform policy and practice development, future service development and highlight potential opportunities for health and social care services provision amongst this growing population.
To date there are no studies that provide empirical evidence on how community-based drop-in services for refugees and asylum seekers are received. This study provides a cultural insight into the deeper value and meaning of such services, and is particularly relevant for professionals in all sectors who are working with asylum seekers and refugees.
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author(s). This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. The study was approved by the York St John University School of Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
Spring, H.C., Howlett, F.K., Connor, C., Alderson, A., Antcliff, J., Dutton, K., Gray, O., Hirst, E., Jabeen, Z., Jamil, M., Mattimoe, S. and Waister, S. (2019), "The value and meaning of a community drop-in service for asylum seekers and refugees", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 31-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-07-2018-0042
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