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2021 Annual Report

Kerry Smith

A Message from Kerry Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Starting 2021 with a lockdown made it abundantly clear that the Covid-19 pandemic would continue to disrupt our clients’ lives and recovery throughout the year. As a result survivors of trafficking and torture continued to suffer significant deteriorations in their mental and physical health. The risk of exploitation, abuse and re-trafficking also continued to mount as ongoing isolation compounded our clients’ vulnerability.

It is with great pride therefore that apart from seven weeks during the second lockdown, the Helen Bamber Foundation Group’s doors remained open, providing a much needed permanent place of support for our clients. To name just one crucial difference this made, 41% of the therapy appointments we offered were trauma-focused therapy interventions, compared to 18% in 2020. We also grew our support of the wider sector by building partnerships and providing training to other organisations and statutory services, enabling them to deliver the trauma-focused care that survivors need. Our strategic commitment to improving the environment for survivors beyond those we support directly has only become more important as a result of the Afghan and Ukraine crises.

But it is clear that the impact of isolation and reduction of capacity across even the most critical safeguarding, health and support services has made survivors more vulnerable. This, coupled with a clearly failing asylum system and our current Government’s draconian response through the Nationality and Borders Act, means that demand for our services will only soar.

HBF and Asylum Aid’s new three-year strategy prioritises partnerships and shared learning as the route to offering survivors access to recovery and protection. In particular, we want to ensure that our expertise in counter-trafficking is used to reduce the risks of survivors being re-trafficked, exploited and abused.

We also hope to welcome all of our wonderful supporters to a new Helen Bamber Foundation Group home in 2023, a home that will be a reflection of our clients, our values and our vision for the world. Finally, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the supporters who have helped us to get to where we are now. We wouldn’t be able to do any of our vital work without you, and we look forward to continuing our journey together.

Kerry Smith, CEO Helen Bamber Foundation Group