Mission & Background of the Unit
The Unit was established in 1994, by a consortium of funding bodies and agencies which work with refugee community organisations, including City Parochial Foundation, Thames Telethon, London Borough Grants, the Refugee Working Party and the Refugee Council.
The aim of the Unit is to develop specialist support for refugee organisations to enable them to adequately tackle the pressing needs of the communities they serve.
Evelyn Oldfield was one of the first field officers for the City Parochial Foundation and the Trust for London, who died in 1992. Evelyn had devoted her energies to developing a strong and effective voluntary sector in which refugee organisations played a key part.
The Evelyn Oldfield Unit is a testament to her vision and commitment.
Leaders Together Mentoring Project
Leaders Together was a mentoring scheme that the Evelyn Oldfield Unit ran in partnership with TimeBank. The project aimed to increase the capacity of RCOs by tapping into the knowledge of mainstream voluntary sector organisations. Leaders of RCOs were matched in one-to-one mentoring relationships with senior professionals from the voluntary sector in order to help them develop new skills, enhance networking opportunities, realise their organisation's full potential and establish new links with mainstream services.
Leaders Together is now entirely managed by TimeBank, who are still keen to involve RMCO’s in their scheme. So if you are a leader of a small charity or community group and you want an extra support, let's check for further details of how your RMCO can access the Leaders Together programme. Ring Diya on 0207 785 6395 or email her at
Capacity Builders Project
Capacity Builder took the name and was funded by the the non-departmental public body which has till recently offered support to the voluntary sector. The project had the aim to support frontline Refugee and Migrant Community Organisations to access high quality generalist capacity building support through: one to one sessions, training, partnership development, information and advice and through harnessing and developing links with a range of mainstream organisations. Areas of capacity building we worked included:
- Policy development
- Project planning
- Volunteer management
- Equality and diversity issues
- Joint working initiatives, with other RMCO’s and mainstream organisations
- Making links with local decision makers
Refugee Stories Project
The Refugee Stories Project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and City Parochial Foundation. It followed on from the award winning Refugee Communities History Project which ran in partnership with Evelyn Oldfield Unit, Museum of London, London Metropolitan University and 15 Refugee Community Organisations and was funded by Trust for London and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
In the initial project, each RCO hosted and supported a fieldworker employed to work with their community. The project collected over 150 in depth oral history interviews with refugees from the 15 communities it worked with. The resulting collection of interviews, archived at the Museum of London, constitute an extraordinary and unrivalled collection of testimony based material on the subject of refugees in the UK. In addition, the project has produced a variety of resources based upon the material collected including a website: (www.refugeestories.org), a learning resource for teachers designed for KS3 Citizenship, History, Geography and English subjects, (available to download via the website) a short film collection and a mobile exhibition.
EOU has a limited number of Refugee Stories project resources to offer to schools, charities and public libraries, including “Refugee Stories” films on DVD and the multimedia learning resource childhood landscapes. Groups interested in inviting a speaker, borrowing the mobile exhibition, or finding out about other available resources are welcome to contact