Utrecht

Integration of migrants and refugees

U-RLP Utrecht Refugee Launch Pad

Cities play a crucial role in the integration process of asylum seekers. The way we receive newcomers into our society has an impact on its future shape and prosperity.
The Utrecht Refugee Launchpad (U-RLP) offers an inclusive approach to facilitate integration from day one, involving residents and social networks within the neighbourhood. The experience of living, learning and working together creates a shared social capital between newcomers and residents to launch social change and provide new work opportunities. People draw strength, inspiration and courage from the many meaningful encounters.

Maarten van Ooijen, Deputy Mayor of Utrecht
The project in numbers
50%
of Utrechts asylum seekers are targeted to participate in U-RLP activities which foster integration from day 1 and develop future proof skills which can create value locally and globally
20%
neighborhood participation to U-RLP activities is targeted as a minimum amount to ensure an inclusive approach
EUR 2,778,313.32
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenge addressed

Cities play a crucial role in the reception and integration of asylum seekers in local communities. Within Europe there has been a growing number of welcoming voluntary activities combined with sometimes openly hostile but at least concerned reactions towards the reception and integration of refugees. Especially in deprived neighbourhoods there is a risk of poor social inclusion of new migrants where residents already themselves face problems of high unemployment and lower levels of education.

Solution proposed

The Utrecht Refugee Launchpad seeks to develop a new way to deal with reception facilities for refugees in neighbourhoods by introducing an inclusive approach. The project aims to create a combined learning and living environment for both refugees and the local community. It offers the neighbourhood a vibrant and enigmatic centre with a SOCIUS community. A group of carefully selected youngsters with a strong connection to the neighbourhood and it’s improvement created trendy living quarters in the same building where the refugee shelter is located. Youngsters are of mixed levels of education, occupation, gender, age, colour and background. Their common ground is the intent to create a community with the asylum seekers within the neighbourhood. Neighbourhood members are invited to follow international entrepreneurship training  or Business English classes together with the asylum seekers, followed by peer to peer coaching and introductions to local businesses. The lessons learned in the URLP could be both used within the Netherlands or elsewhere. This way the approach ensures a future proof investment into the participants’ lives, which could be built up in Utrecht or elsewhere if the asylum request is denied or when refugees may want to rebuild their home country when the war is over. The project seeks to offer asylum seekers and neighbourhood(youth) alike an active and entrepreneurial environment. The core target group remains, of course, the refugee community. However, by mixing refugees with neighbourhood participants, potentially opposing groups are thought to bridge a gap and experience mutual support instead of growing alienation.

Partnership
  • Gemeente Utrecht
  • Socius Wonen – SME
  • Universiteit Utrecht - School of Economics (U.S.E.) and Centre for Entrepreneurship (UtrechtCE).
  • Stichting Volksuniversiteit Utrecht - Division of English courses
  • Social Impact Factory – NGO
  • Vluchtelingenwerk Midden-Nederland – NGO
  • University of Oxford - Centre on Migration, Policy and Society
  • Roehampton University
Expected results

The experience of living, learning and developing together will create a shared social capital between newcomers and residents. These new experiences may launch social change and will hopefully provide new opportunities in the labour market for participants.

Main milestones

November 2016: SOCIUSYouth received the keys to their new homes from the Deputy Mayor during an official event.

February 2017: Start of Entrepreneurship courses and English lessons for neighbourhood members and asylum seekers.

Summer 2017: Open House event for the neighbourhood, asylum seekers, U-RLP partners and importants stakeholders.

Spring 2018: The first results of the project and experiences will be presented in Utrecht to other European practitioners and scientists.

Spring 2019: Presentation of the Evaluation and research results of Oxford University and Roehampton University.

The project in numbers
50%
of Utrechts asylum seekers are targeted to participate in U-RLP activities which foster integration from day 1 and develop future proof skills which can create value locally and globally
20%
neighborhood participation to U-RLP activities is targeted as a minimum amount to ensure an inclusive approach
EUR 2,778,313.32
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact of the project
Imara Antonius
Advisor European Cooperation and Funding Strategy
Daniel De Torres
UIA expert

Project News

Einstein's coffee of the world 35 - Tess Kamphorst

U-RLP Zoom-in 2: Plan Einstein’s Narrative

Is the Plan Einstein (U-RLP) project contributing to the creation of a new narrative on the reception of refugees?...
U-RLP Plan Einstein Journal 4

U-RLP Journal 4 and the challenge of creating meeting spaces for residents and neighbours

UIA Expert Daniel de Torres shares the latest insights....
U-RLP 3rd Journal

Read U-RLP's 3rd project journal!

The decision of the Dutch national agency for reception of asylum seekers (COA) to anticipate the closure of Plan Einstein and the transfer of asylum ...
Plan Einstein URLP

ASC Overvecht’s previously fiercest opponents will miss it sorely

In this article two locals -who participated in the Plan Einstein community- talked about the impact of the U-RLP project on their lives. ...
U-RLP Coffee of the World

U-RLP Zoom-In: Video looks at creation of the coffee of the world

UIA Expert Daniel de Torres highlights in this video the steps taken to create the project’s coffee of the world....
Road trip project

Last week Plan Einstein was spotted by the EU in my Region Road Trip Project!

Yldau and Fabian, from the EU in my Region Road Trip Project, visited U-RLP Plan Einstein project and met Amir and Kimiya, refugees who live in the co...

Implementing the U-RLP project in Utrecht: get an update on the activities carried out in the second UIA expert journal

UIA Expert Dani de Torres has been collecting the knowledge stemming from the implementation of the innovative solution proposed by the City of Utrech...

U-RLP Journal 1: Hear from the project’s UIA Expert how it is implementing its bold solution

Get to know better what Utrecht is doing on the integration of migrants and refugees in this UIA Expert journal....
U-RLP Utrecht UIA

One big family - U-RLP Open Day on the national news!

On Saturday 23rd of September the Utrecht Refugee Launch Pad (U-RLP) organised an Open Day at Plan Einstein....
U-RLP newsletter

Utrecht Refugee Launch Pad & Social Impact Factory Newsletter July 2017

Utrecht Refugee Launch Pad (Plan Einstein) is growing! At the end of July, we are welcoming a new group of residents at the Einsteindreef. Many enthus...

Starting over begins with trust

Losing everything in your home country and having to run for your life. Starting all over again thousands of miles from home. Without belongings, beca...

Cooking with each other every Sunday

30 asylum seekers and 40 young adults currently live in the same building in Overvecht, a neighbourhood in Utrecht. Once the office building has been ...

Media

Zoom-in video

Site visit March 2018 - Social Affairs Forum

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