Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Facilitating at Undoc Camp at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Update: 20th Sept. Great article about the event in the Metro. 

In July I headed down to London for a couple of days and joined journalists, lawyers, activists, migrants, artists, app developers, designers and entrepreneurs for Undoc Camp, a Paul Hamlyn Foundation project which was fantastically delivered by On Road Media. 

The aim of Undoc Camp was to look at how we can use the web and digital technology to help get information and advice to young people who are in the UK with irregular immigration status.

The camp was spilt into themes; Arrivals, legal advice and support, self help and well being, awareness, trust, and returns (when people are deported out of the UK).

I was paired up with the Arrivals team whose mission was to find a way to help young people orientate themselves when they first arrived in the UK and to make it easier for them to find out what services are on offer to them.

The team had a day to come up with an idea on how to address this issue and then they would present it to a panel of judges. Paul Hamlym offered funding to the top 3 ideas chosen by the judges (1 x £5000 and 2 x £2500) in order for the concept to be developed and brought to life.

My role within the Arrivals team was to act as a facilitator; to keep the day on track, make sure everyone's ideas were heard, that the plan and the presentation came along and to contribute as and when.

Photo by William Walsh

The day flew by and it was soon time for the team to pitch their idea to the judges! Of course I was biased and really kept my fingers crossed that Team Arrivals had a winning idea!  

Team Arrivals. A winning team! 

And they were a winning team. Yes!!

The idea is called First Help. When people arrive in the UK, they often don't know who to trust amidst the chaos,  confusion and disorientation of arriving in a foreign country. First Help will be simple text messaging service which will send a response in the new arrivals native language. It will contain a link to a url, that has information and videos in their own language, there will be an IP address so they can see where they actually are in the UK (depending on they type of phone they have), and what services are available to them locally.

Well done Team Arrivals!

Personally I found Undoc Camp an eye opening and inspiring couple of days. There was such a mix of people from all types of backgrounds there and you could just feel their passion in wanting to help find a solution to a variety of issues that young immigrants face when they are in the UK. We met and worked with some of the young people and they were kind enough to share some of their stories and issues. It was a pleasure to be involved in the weekend, and I can't wait to see First Help in action :)

Say hello on twitter @karenstrunks

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