Community COnnection

Feeling comfortable in, and connected to a community, is a vital way for survivors of Modern Slavery to remain resilient to re-exploitation.

Due to the challenges often faced by people in the NRM, such as limited funds, trauma, difficulties with language barriers, and unfamiliarity with British bureaucracy, survivors are often vulnerable to re-exploitation through poor working or housing conditions that are easier to access than legitimate routes.  

For example, if a client is having trouble accessing employment due to worries around job interviews, transport, language issues etc, and are offered a ‘cash-in-hand’ job by a stranger on the street, they may be tempted to take it, especially if it comes with ‘accommodation.’ This job may turn out to be exploitative, and the accommodation overcrowded and of poor quality.

To help address this, City Hearts set up Community Connection Hubs, where clients can meet each week to socialise, learn new skills, and practice the social skills they need to navigate through their new lives independently, and to recognise risks when they see it.

The Community Connection Team also offer City Hearts’ clients days out together around four times a year. These could be to the beach, a football stadium, leisure centre etc.

Community celebration is also encouraged to help clients in our safe houses celebrate aspects of their culture and bond with each other through shared experience. Once a month, clients are given the resources to buy specific food and decorations in order to cook and eat together, and celebrate various holidays or events, such as Eid, or Chinese New Year.

“Drop-ins were so nice. There was food, and I laughed there a lot. They did a couple of education programmes there, and asked us about our skills. It was like a new life. It was a good time.” - Modern Slavery survivor who attended the Community Connection Drop-In sessions.