Based in Central Reading, RCLC has been operating as an independent charity since 2007, and as part of national charity, Workers’ Education Association, since the mid-1990s. We have over 20 years of experience in delivering services to support traditionally ‘hard-to-reach’ refugee and migrant women. Our mission is to empower and support refugee and migrant women by creating a space for learning, and advocating for equal treatment, equal rights, and a life free from violence and discrimination.
Many of the refugee and migrant women we support speak little or no English, and often have limited experience outside of the home; as a result, many are amongst the most isolated, deprived and vulnerable members of our community. We offer a programme of outreach activities, free training classes, workshops, 1:1 information, advice and guidance, a Crèche and social opportunities. Our services are designed to build confidence, increase skills and reduce social isolation. In 2022-23, our core learning and support programme supported 420 women from 36 different countries of origin. In addition, 874 women were supported with information, advice and guidance varying from benefit support, filling in forms, making telephone calls, translation support to accompanying them to access services at the Centre.
Post pandemic RCLC continues to experience an increase in demand due to increased waiting lists from when the Centre was closed during the pandemic, running smaller classes due to social distancing rules and an increase in the number of migrants and refugees. Many have experienced disproportionate challenges around mental and physical health, loss of finance, social isolation and domestic abuse- compounded by language barriers and racism. There is now increasing evidence about the levels of hidden poverty in the migrant and refugee communities, especially amongst Muslim communities, who make up around 50% of our learners. Many of the women we work with cannot access employment, and live in, or at risk of, poverty as a result, especially in the current Cost of Living Crisis.
We have 10 key objectives which enable us to offer comprehensive and tailored support services: