What we do
INFORMATION, ADVICE AND ADVOCACY
The Bridge Plus+ has over 10 years’ experience of working with people who have English as additional language, are not familiar with UK systems and/or have faced unequal treatment when exercising their rights
Our service users are from over 35 different nationalities. Some are relatively new to Norwich; others are ethnic minority British nationals.
Information on a wide range of issues, from ESOL to healthcare services and from job search to financial hardship support. Signposting and referrals to other support services and community groups.
Immigration legal advice: The Bridge Plus+ is registered with the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) at Level 1. Due to limited capacity, we refer service users to Norfolk Community Law Service (NCLS).
Advocacy: we work with you to enable you to access services on a wide range of topics and make your voice heard. We are part of the Norfolk Advocacy Partnership (NAP) led by Equal Lives and contracted by Norfolk County Council.
Our approach is person-centred, holistic and often intensive. We offer phone as well as face-to-face appointments, depending on the service user’s preferences and support needs.
Our small team of staff and volunteers has lived experience of migration and speaks several community languages. We routinely offer interpreting support via Language Line/INTRAN (with thanks to our funder Norwich Consolidated Charities).
The Bridge Plus+ community lunches are back!
We hold community lunches throughout the year (please get in touch to find out about lunch dates). Our lunches are very informal (free, of course!) and everyone is welcome. They bring together Bridge Plus+ service users, other community members, representatives from other services, Bridge Plus+ volunteers and staff. Food is prepared by our amazing community chefs who volunteer their time. Dishes includes Halal and vegetarian options.
OTHER COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES
Our focus for community engagement work in 2022 and 2023 is health, including mental health.
In summer 2022, we interviewed service users to seek their views on what constitutes good mental health, to what extent mental health services are accessible and available to them, and what could be done to improve care and support.
This was part of the Seldom Heard Communities pilot project funded by Norfolk and Waveney NHS through Norfolk Community Foundation, also involving New Routes, GYROS and One Voice 4 Travellers.
LEARNING AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
We collaborate with our partners New Routes and English+, as well as many other local groups including MaNGOma, Globally Onward, Bicycle Links, UEA University of Sanctuary, to improve access to wider learning and skills development opportunities. We regularly invite local partners to come to our community lunches to advertise what they have on offer.
In February-March 2023, we worked in partnership with WEA (Workers Educational Association) to design and run small group sessions on “Understanding Universal Credit for ESOL learners”. Contact us if you would like to know more about this activity.
RACE EQUALITY WORK
Championing race equality is central to our work.
As part of our information and advice casework, we support our service users to challenge systemic inequalities and make their voices heard. Our race equality work is also reflected in our involvement at different strategic and community levels, where we continue to represent the voices of residents from ethnic minority and/or migrant backgrounds.
The Bridge Plus+ is an active member of the Norfolk Race Equality and Human Rights Network.
B-ME VOICES MAGAZINE
Between 2014 and 2017, we published B-Me Voices, a magazine that promotes diversity by capturing and sharing the views and aspirations of people from ethnic minority and migrant backgrounds.
Hard copies of the magazine were distributed throughout Norfolk. Electronic copies of past issues are available to browse here for free. We hope to relaunch our community magazine sometime in 2023-24.
PAST COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EVENTS
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Bridge Plus+ organised or was directly involved in larger scale community events including:
Refugee Week Coordination
The Bridge Plus+ coordinated the Norwich Refugee Week between 2012 and 2014
Norwich Integration Partnership (NIP)
2018 International Feast. Click here for more information about our partners.