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Refugees in Northern Ireland 2021

Our Refugees in Northern Ireland booklet has been upddated for 2021.

Download your copy here (pdf version):

Refugees in NI 2021

Seminar with Krish Kandiah and Peter Rowan

Krish Kandiah, founder of the UK charity Home for Good, spoke of how we need to “fight racism with hospitality”. As Church communities, we need a radical hospitality that extends to all of humanity, and that needs a rethink of our concept of mission. Peter Rowan from OMF drew us to consider how the landscape of mission has changed. Mission isn’t just about going on long journeys, it can happen right next door. Christians at home can create churches of welcome by extending the hospitality of God to all – engaging locally can be God’s way of using us globally.

Seminar with Nick Hanrahan

Working for the Jesuit Refugee Service, UK, Nick Hanrahan shared with us the work JRS is doing and the impact its is having on people’s lives. what accompaniment meant to the organisation and the impact it has had on people’s lives. JRS are keen to place special emphasis on being with rather than doing for, accompanying the refugee on their journey to creating a new life in the UK. This was a message that resonated with many participants on-screen working in food banks and Church outreach services.

Seminar with Nathaniel Jennings

There was a great turnout for our lunchtime seminar with Nathaniel Jennings in March. It was so interesting to hear of Nathaniel’s personal experiences of racism, and how he feels we as the Church can address the issue. We will be having more lunchtime seminars over the coming months. Check out our social media for details of upcoming events, or join our mailing list here.

January 2021: Denise Wright has stepped down from our Committee for a year, as she pursues other commitments over the year ahead. She plan to rejoin us next year. Denise is a founding member of Embrace and her contribution to the work of Embrace has been invaluable. We wish her well during her year out, and we look forward to having her back with us in due course.

New Committee elected at AGM

At our AGM, we elected our new Committee for the forthcoming year.

Our new Committee is as follows: Scott Boldt, Malini Colville, Irene Jovaras, Richard Kerr, Paula McKeown, Michael Potter, David Smyth, Denise Wright, Dougie Tyler, Dympna Mallon and Sr Eileen McConnell.

Foloowing the AGM, the Committee selected new office bearers. They are:

  • Scott Boldt – Chairperson
  • Malini Colville – Vice-Chairperson
  • Paula McKeown – Secretary
  • Michael Potter – Treasurer

Embrace NI AGM

Our AGM on 29th September looked a bit different this year, taking place over Zoom due to the COVID restrictions. Thank-you to everyoe who attended and showed support, we really appreciate it. Our new Committee was voted in, and we are excited to be working together as a team in the coming year. Two of our exisiting Committee members stepped down from the Committee at the AGM: Margaret McNulty, a founding member of EMBRACE and David Morton, our Chairperson. We are most grateful for the invaluable contribution they have made to promoting the vision of EMBRACE and practically supporting our work with their many gifts, expertise and commitment. They leave a huge gap in the committee and they will be greatly missed. We wish them well for the future.

Response to the Covid Crisis

EMBRACE has been working in partnership with other groups to respond to the Covid crisis. £30,000 given by the Community Foundation for NI and Belfast City Council has been allocated by EMBRACE to partner organisations working on the ground to deliver services to those in need. These groups include South Belfast Foodbank, NICRAS, South Belfast Roundtable, Homeplus, Storehouse and other Refugee Asylum Forum members. Over 160 parcels are being distributed each week to asylum seeking families in Belfast, nearly 2000 food parcels and baby essentials have been delivered so far. Find out more here.

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Volunteers at The Storehouse in Belfast pack food parcels to be distributed to Asylum seeking families

ESOL classes at Belfast Metropolitan College

All new students wanting to take ESOL classes at the Belfast Met this year must complete an assessment first. These will be done online this year, and will take place in August 2020. Online bookings will open on Monday 3rd August at 12.00pm. Click on the link for more details:

Homeplus Appeal

A Belfast-based charity has launched an urgent appeal for donations to help support some of the most vulnerable people in the city during the Covid-19 pandemic. Homeplus NI provide a daily drop-in and advice centre in Belfast for vulnerable refugees. They have set up a crisis fund to help refugees at this time. For more information, click on the link below:

Applying for EU Settled Status

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union means that all EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in Northern Ireland must now apply to have their legal status confirmed. They must apply for a new EU immigration status – ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status – in order to protect their right to continue to live, work, study or access the NHS or other services in the UK. This requirement applies to all the 88,000 (approx.) EU nationals living in NI, (unless they have already applied for British or Irish citizenship) no matter how long they have lived here. The deadline for applying is June 30, 2021, or December 31, 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The application for settled status is made online and the process of applying is relatively straightforward.

Information on this is available on the Home Office website here:

Read our press release here

Language Classes

In the past EMBRACE listed English language classes on this site. We are delighted that there is now a dedicated ESOLNI multilingual regional website for people looking for a suitable course. Click here for additional information and a list of courses.

It is important that church classes are on the new site. So please get in touch with regional co-ordinator, Ligia Parizzi, ( to set up a member profile