Homeplus has a Drop-in Centre based in Belfast for refugees, asylum seekers and destitute migrants. The Centre operates from Monday to Friday from 10am – 5pm and has a wide range of services including:
Hot meals are served Monday to Friday in the Centre at 1.30 along with tea, coffee, bread and donuts, which are available all day. Every Friday there is a special halal meal cooked. The food is cooked by volunteers who are also service users from different parts of the world. Bringing a wide range of cooking skills, styles and flavours they are best placed to know what the other service users like to eat and it gives them a sense of ownership and belonging. Food is served in the Centre each night during Ramadan for breaking of the fast. We also provide food bank vouchers and food parcels of fresh fruit and vegetables and chicken on a daily basis.
We collect donations of clothes and sort out those that are still of good quality for our clothes store for services users to take as and when they are needed. We also make referrals to organisations who provide clothes and in cases apply on behalf of service users to others organisations for money for clothes.
Advice / support service:
There is an advice and support service that operates throughout the week providing support in a variety of ways including completing forms, employment support, securing grants, housing and benefit issues for refugees, support with housing issues for asylum seekers, integration and accessing public services. It also facilitates access to education and training. The service includes a family support service aiding families to have increased equality of service provision and aid integration. This entails help with registering with doctors, getting children into schools, referrals to and linking in with local support agencies and community groups.
At Homeplus we believe in empowering our service users, wherever possible to help themselves and we have found that a great way to do that is through volunteering, so we have a wide range of volunteering opportunities available from cooking food, cleaning, teaching, sorting out the clothes store and donations, translating, helping on the allotment, helping with art projects among others. In fact most of the services we have have been service user led. This helps our service users feel ownership the service we provide and a belonging to Homeplus and our Centre as well as improving our ability to meet the needs of our service users.
Internet and computer room:
In the Centre we have a computer room with 8 computers for service users for things such as contacting people via Skype, applying for jobs, building a C.V. or just using the internet. We also have a PlayStation 4 for people to play games on.