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Martin Heron

Martin Heron Sculptor

Be Inspired Series

Clare McClure

Refugee Service Co-ordinator
British Red Cross

What does your role entail?

 I am refugee support co-ordinator for the Red Cross and run a Belfast drop-in for refugees and asylum seekers three days a week.  We work with clients from whenever they first arrive in Northern Ireland. My role involves assisting them with orientation, essential clothing and offering support for the entire duration of the asylum process.  There are various points during the process when an individual may become destitute and the Red Cross is able to assist with cash or vouchers and casework support.  I am also involved in our Family Reunion service where we reunite families who have been separated as a result of fleeing conflict or persecution. 

Is it 9-5?

I work 9-5 in order to facilitate our drop-in clinics which run from 10-4. Sometimes thing run over, as you just can’t tell, on any given day, who’s going to come through the door, and with what kind of problems. 

What qualities are required for your role?

I think you have to be a good listener, empathetic and have the ability to cope with demanding situations.

What are the biggest rewards and challenges with your role?

The biggest challenge is when we can’t solve a client’s problems. We work with very vulnerable people and that can be distressing and stressful. However it’s also an extremely rewarding job. The best thing is seeing a family get reunited.  One mother was reunited with the son she hadn't seen since he was a baby.  She positively glowed with happiness!

What was your career path?

I’ve always been interested in helping people. I studied Law and then did a Masters in International Human Rights. That led me into working with refugees and asylum seekers.

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