Volunteering with RMC since 2016, Abbey recently secured full time employment at the charity after securing the paperwork which gave her the right to work. Now a trusted Advisor on the Immigration Team, she is dedicated to using her own experiences to support clients as she can relate to what they are going through; including their current situation.
As a full time staff member at RMC, I primarily support clients who have recently been granted refugee status and leave to remain in the UK. This means giving them help to do things like finding somewhere to live, applying for benefits, registering for college, opening a bank account, getting into work and much more.
I also assist those who have received negative decisions by helping them to find solicitors, while looking at what new evidence they may have in order to make a fresh claim for asylum. This can be a very difficult time for them and the support we provide is crucial; both to their case and mental wellbeing.
I began volunteering back in November 2016 after getting support from RMC myself. I continued volunteering until June 2019 when I received my decision. After this I had permission to work and so I didn’t hesitate when I was offered a job at RMC. For me, the bottom line is that I enjoy what I do. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here! Helping people is natural and even outside of RMC, this is what I’m known for.
I would say that my greatest achievement is having my kids. Outside of RMC I am a full time Mom to my three beautiful children. Being a great Mom is so important to me. I love spending quality time with them and taking them to the movies, bowling, trips away and lots of things like this.
Professionally, my greatest achievement as a volunteer was when I was given responsibilities that were normally given to staff members. I was given various projects to run and I was so proud to be given that responsibility.
It showed how much I had achieved and also that my work was appreciated by my colleagues. This gave me a great sense of achievement. Ultimately, my hard work and dedication paid off and I am sure it is the reason I was able to get a job at RMC.
In the future I hope to continue doing this sort of work, maybe even in my own organisation. However, I have everything I need in life thanks to God. I have a wonderful, loving and caring family, friends, job and most importantly good health. There are people out there with so much less than me. I don’t think I can ask for any more. I am grateful!
For me, Black History Month is a time to celebrate, rejoice and be thankful for those that fought for this recognition. It is an achievement worth celebrating, but also a time to be reminded of the importance of being black. Being black is something I am proud of, even though it has been difficult in history. This is why we celebrate what we have achieved.
However, this answer is not a straightforward one. Black History Month means different things to different people. I am able to see it differently as I can celebrate being black and the achievements that have been made. But I have been lucky not to experience as much difficulty as others.
Yet we must also remember that we have been able to build more equality recently and things are getting better. At school, my little boy told me a story about what he was taught in history about how a black woman Rosa Louise McCauley Parks rejected the bus drivers order to give up her seat in the “coloured section” to a white passenger, after the whites only section was filled in a demonstration against segregation. I was very proud. It showed the different perspectives of different generations and how things are changing for the better. I am optimistic about the future!
Black History Month in the UK takes place from the 1st to 31st October. This national celebration aims to promote and celebrate black contributions to British society, and to foster an understanding of black history in general.
Over the next week, we will be sharing the stories, experiences and successes from members of staff and volunteers at the charity to coincide with the end of Black History Month.