Marsh Refugee or Asylum Seeker Achievement Award

This Award highlights the achievements of an individual linked to the Refugee Council who has made an outstanding contribution to their community.

Often this Award is presented to people who have become involved with the Refugee Council as asylum seekers and refugees, and have volunteered to give something back to others who are going through similar difficulties as them.

Nominations for the Award are made via the Refugee Council and are judged in partnership with the MCT.

Irene Austin 2017

Irene Austin won this Award for her outstanding volunteer support and her passionate belief that all Syrian refugees should receive quality English classes. Following the frustration of some clients who were struggling to find effective ESOL classes in their local area Irene, along with a number of other volunteers, began to run weekly ESOL classes at the Refugee Council offices. Irene has personally mentored new families in her area to help them improve their English using creative techniques, as well as supporting and training other Refugee Council volunteers to learn more English. Irene is passionate about social inclusion for refugee families and has set up a number of events and social groups to help them feel welcome.

Previous Winners

Arnold Christo-Leigh

Arnold has dedicated his life to helping refugees and asylum seekers. As well as the Refugee Council, he also volunteers for the British Red Cross, Hackney Migrant Centre and London Catholic Workers. Arnold volunteers with Refugee Council’s destitution services. Arnold knows from experience what clients need so is able to relate to them on a level that others cannot, often going above and beyond in his role to do so. Arnold recently visited a homeless client in hospital, making several trips to check on them since they had no friends or family and ensured their belongings were safe at the centre. He also collected and delivered a weekly food parcel to a client who is blind – travelling from Lewisham to Tottenham to ensure this client was supported.

Brenda Kabaseke

Brenda began to access the Refugee Council’s Services in Therapeutic Casework. She joined the Creative Focus Group first as a client and then as a mentor where she welcomes and supports vulnerable new members. Brenda is a creative jewellery designer and teaches others in the group.

Brenda further volunteers on the reception desk as a receptionist providing an excellent service in her role. She has also spoken at an International Women’s day event about the benefits of receiving psychological support. Brenda is an inspiration to all those who have the opportunity to meet her.