Hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees have been given vital support by North Ayrshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership Support Team.

The specialist refugee support group was established in May 2023 to provide all newly-arrived refugees, asylum seekers and Ukrainian Displaced People (UDP) to North Ayrshire with an initial physical and mental health assessment.

That includes migrant screening for TB and blood-borne viruses, immunisation support and help to access local primary care services, including GPs and Dentists.

The team has been working closely with Mears to support asylum seekers and has also recently taken on support to Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children (UASC) as part of the UK Government’s asylum dispersal programme. 

To date, 88 adults and 60 children have been supported through screening and health assessments.

Ninety-seven TB screening forms have been completed and returned to Public Health for assessment and triage and 19 individuals have been supported to access immunisation appointments. 

Outwith the main urban centres for asylum seekers, this service is unique to North Ayrshire and has received positive feedback from across partner agencies.

The service is funded until March 2025 with discussions ongoing re future sustainability.

Meanwhile, the Universal Early Years service has joined forces with national charity Dads Rock through the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund to bring a dedicated Dads Worker into the existing integrated early years’ service. 

This is the first role of its kind in Scotland. 

Due to the differing nature of family structures in modern society, dads that do not reside in the home of the children may at times miss out on engagement with statutory services but still have much to offer and provide great benefit to the children.

This role connects with dads of all circumstances to grow their skills and confidence in providing care and support to their children and families regardless of family composition.

The Dads Worker came into post in October 2023, and despite only being in post a short time, great results have been achieved already.

More than 30 fathers have connected with the Dads Worker, on a one-to-one basis, via the group and informal quick intervention support. 

A weekly group has been established and the first dads and kids trip took place in March.

Plans are in place to create unique resources such as dad and baby sensory sessions, swimming lessons and infant feeding workshops in the coming months.