MRSN from the start
Merseyside Refugee Support Network (MRSN) was established in 2001 and formally registered as a charity in July 2002 in response to a collective need amongst concerned groups and organisations to support refugees arriving in Liverpool from Kosovo.
MRSN emerged thanks to some of the key voluntary sector heroes of the day including amongst others the late Edward Murphy and late Chas Raws. They were also very much involved in building capacity and refugee awareness raising and understanding across the city with the subsequent support they gave in the establishment of Asylum Link Merseyside and Family Refugee Support Project.
At this stage, MRSN had no staffing or significant income and by good fortune and timing the arrival of the EU Funded Equal_LASAR Development Partnership Project enabled core strategic work and information sharing to be developed alongside practical support projects, ESOL classes and thematic sub-groups. Through LASAR, early interventions were put in place to support the Sangatte Refugees and in subsequent years joint work on the Basra Resettlement programme with partners across the city.
At its heart, MRSN provide practical help to refugees “moving-on” from the asylum system and support to onward social and economic integration into life in Liverpool, and beyond.
Our work is based on our core charitable objective that is the relief of poverty of refugees and asylum seekers.
Our excellent track record and skilled team meet the complex needs of refugee clients through a one-to-one empathetic and customised casework model, helping clients navigate and access mainstream services (including welfare benefits, housing, healthcare, education and training) and build their confidence to take their first steps to integration, learning and employability skills.
MRSN adopt a holistic approach in the work and the support that we offer to all the adult refugees who present for our help. Our experience shows that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach thus we have developed our support work to meet the needs of each individual client and hence it is “demand led”. Our inclusive service effectively enables our refugee clients to move-on and settle in to their life in to their new community.
Networking and Communications
Another core aspect of our work is to share information for and on behalf of others in the refugee sector to raise awareness, share good practice and work collectively to address issues as they arise over time.
We co-ordinate quarterly network meetings and provide an e-newsgroup service across the sector to maintain and support information sharing and partnership work with the various public/private and voluntary sector groups working with and for refugee and asylum communities across the Liverpool City Region.
- MRSN is one of a founding member of the Liverpool City of Sanctuary Group and administers LCSG membership and communications
- MRSN supports the work of Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) in the roll out of Liverpool Schools of Sanctuary
- MRSN is a long-standing member of the Liverpool City Council’s Refugee and Asylum multi-agency forum (MAF) and several subgroups
- MRSN staff and trustees have extensive expertise and experience across the sector
- MRSN is represented on the Merseyside Police Independent Advisory Group (MIAG)
- MRSN is a Covid Community Champion