In 1998 Fuad Mahamed arrived in the UK as a refugee to find a lot of goodwill, but a system which was fragmented and lacking focus on long-term integration. So, in 2008 he established ACH to support refugee and other vulnerable homeless people by offering them the supported accommodation, along with the training and education, necessary to help them integrate into UK society.
During the past ten years ACH has changed from a small-scale housing provider, located in inner-city Bristol, to a leading provider of resettlement and integration services for refugee and newly arrived communities in the UK.
They now employ 65 staff, work with 2,500 people per year, deliver services in the West of England and West Midlands, and offer advice and assistance across the UK and beyond.
For a recent project, ACH partnered with First West of England to give local refugees the opportunity to become bus drivers through a special training programme.
First West of England have a shortage of bus drivers and had (up until now) struggled to successfully promote their job opportunities to local refugee and BAME communities in East Bristol.
The partnership between ACH and First West of England is a great example of business and the community coming together to make Bristol a better place.
First West of England were involved in the programme every step of the way, from its design to the end recruitment process, whilst ACH sourced and selected candidates for the programme, and ran the elements focused on customer service, interview skills, the Highway Code, culture/vision/mission/values at First and candidate medical and driving licence checks.
Speaking about the programme James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England said: “Through our partnership with ACH, we hope to provide refugees and vulnerable members of the community with a life-changing opportunity to develop real workplace skills and build a new life in the city.
ACH joined Bristol Chamber in 2013 to help find local partners, such as First West of England, that would enable them to continue their impactful work across the city.
Speaking about Business West Chambers of Commerce Matthew Rogers, Marketing & Communications Officer said:
“Since joining ACH have found the assistance provided by Business West invaluable - we’ve explained what we want to achieve and they have advised us on the best way to do this using the different channels they offer. We would recommend joining the Chamber to expand your networks and raise awareness of your business 100 percent.”