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protecting children and uniting families across borders

Summer 2009

50th World Market raises over £90K International World Market celebrates 50th Anniversary, raises over £90K through sales, tombola, raffle and auction. On the 13th May ISS UK held its 50th Anniversary International World Market in Kensington Town Hall to raise money for the charity and the work that we provide. This distinctive and vibrant World Market brought together over 80 countries to unite in their common goal of making the day exciting and fun for all who attended. Representatives from London’s Diplomatic Missions hosted stalls, offering products that are unique to their country which included hand made crafts, jewellery, clothing and accessories as well as delicious food from around the world. Entertainment was provided by the energetic Angolan drummers, traditional Mexican Mariachi band, Egyptian Kanoun player and performers from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The raffle, tombola and silent auction were, as always, very popular features of the World Market with individuals bidding and purchasing tickets up to the final moments before the

draw. This gave visitors the chance to win fantastic prizes, including hotel stays, restaurant visits, flights and sports memorabilia. Many congratulations go to all the winners of these fantastic prizes. The 2009 World Market was particularly successful and International Social Service (ISS UK) has received over £90,000 to support its work. Elisabeth Young, World Market Chairman commented, “The 50th

London’s “ cosmopolitan

most and colourful Charity Fair was as exotic and enjoyable an event as ever.

Birthday of the ISS UK World Market was celebrated in fine style on 12th and 13th May when our Royal Patron, HRH Princess Alexandra cut an anniversary cake. It was made by a member of the Sri Lankan Ladies Association which is a faithful supporter of the event. London’s most cosmopolitan and colourful Charity Fair was as exotic and enjoyable an event as ever. I am

ISS UK is an independent charity and part of an international network of social welfare agencies. Our mission is to promote and protect the rights and welfare of children, adults and families across international borders.

HRH Princess Alexandra cuts the 50th Anniversary cake. Photo by Emily Sieler

proud to have been its chair for the past five years.” We would like to thank our outgoing Chairman Elisabeth Young, Mrs Christina Pitman and Lady Mayella Figgis for all their invaluable help over the years that they have been involved with the World Market. We are sorry to see them leave but their succesors are already in place. Planning for next year’s 51st World Market will commence shortly and promises to be an unmissable event.

Darren Moses, ISS UK Event Manager


Legacies provide lifeline for ISS Lady Coulson and Mrs Gale “both made our charity a


ady Mavis Coulson and Mrs Joan Gale had little in common during their lives and never met. But they came together this year by sharing a belief in the long-term need for ISS UK’s unique charitable services. Lady Coulson and Mrs Gale both made our charity a beneficiary in their wills. Together they have helped to ensure we will still be providing help to children and families in often desperate personal circumstances, long

into the future. Your will may be the most important document that you ever sign. Making a will gives you the opportunity to provide for your family and friends. It also creates the ideal method of recognising the work of a charity whose work you admire and wish to see

beneficiary in their wills. Together they have helped ensure we will still be providing help... long into the future.

continue. Legacy donations to charity are not liable to Inheritance Tax. For further information about this method of helping to secure the future of ISS UK’s unique work for children and families, please contact Chris Platt on 0207 735 8941 or by email to

Staff Spotlight: Laura Gomez, Intercountry Social Worker At least once a week I act as advisor on the advice line. I have contributed to the ISS annual review and I try to get involved in fundraising applications and events whenever possible. I do also assist in the preparation and delivery of training for practitioners related to “International Social Work practice”.

Q: Do you have any particular areas of interest?

A: I have had this question before Q: What are you working on at the moment?

A: My case load is formed by cases

with 14 different countries, mainly from the E.U (Spain and Portugal). The issues vary from cases where there are child protection concerns about the welfare of a child, to requests for assessments of prospect carers overseas, welfare checks on children who have been abducted to other countries by one of their parents, or private law cases amongst others.

and I cannot only identify one. There are a few areas where I am particularly interested: trafficking of children and adults, equalities and diversities in Social Work practice and organizations, social justice, comparisons of national policies and ways in which welfare systems address the needs and rights of particularly vulnerable children. One of the positive things about Social Work is that it can embed so many issues and apply to so many areas that the possibilities to learn are numerous.

Q: What motivated you to join ISS UK?

A: I most definitely felt motivated

by the international element and the uniqueness of ISS role in the field of “Intercountry Social Work”. There is no other organization with international correspondents that can liaise with appropriate Statutory Agencies overseas to safeguard vulnerable people. Prior to working at ISS I shared the view that in order to achieve best practice in “intercountry cases” it is necessary to have an understanding of the culture where an assessment takes place. Also it is essential to have knowledge of the legislation, welfare system and services. That knowledge and experience is something that only professionals practicing in those countries posses. After working in Local Authorities for six years it seemed the perfect opportunity to broaden my knowledge and experience. I must say the colleagues made a very good impression on me during the interview.

ISS trains social workers to deal with international cases


In a world that is becoming more and more mobile, Florence Grandvalet and Nadine Wesslowski explain how ISS UK’s training program can help.


lena and Milos, two Czech nationals, came to the UK with their four children aged from 2 to 5. Concerns were raised about their home conditions, the lack of supervision, the lack of money and the level of care provided. In addition, there were incidents of alleged violence by Milos towards Elena that led to Milos being arrested. As the situation was deteriorating at home and Elena was struggling with her children, the decision was taken by the Local Authority to place the children in care. Elena expressed her wish to go to go back to the Czech Republic with her children, to have support from the grandparents. The social worker was concerned about the risk to the children if they went to the Czech Republic and contacted ISS UK. We were able to make arrangements with the Czech authorities and the grandparents to support the mother and children to ensure their wellbeing. The family returned to the Czech Republic early this year.


s populations become more mobile, new challenges arise in the UK for professionals working with children and families. How to make contact with overseas authorities? What support is available in other countries? ISS UK has become increasingly aware of these challenges through enquiries we have received to our advice line. In 2008, we therefore started to organise training events to increase the capacity of practitioners to deal with international cases. We

Alex Verdan QC and Nadine Wesslowski at a training event on Welfare and Immigration in October 2008.

welcomed participants from a range of different backgrounds in Social Care working for Local Authorities as well as practitioners from the voluntary sector, the police and CAFCASS. We worked in partnership with other organisation and their kind cooperation drew attention to specific concerns such as trafficking, witchcraft, immigration issues and cross border movement of social workers. We were also delighted that Lord Laming, an ISS UK Patron, was able to address our delegates to increase the understanding for “the

need to examine local, national and international procedures in safeguarding the growing number of children who cross national and international boundaries.” The vast majority of participants felt they had gained competence in dealing with international issues and that it would make a difference to their practice. “Local and international

cooperation are both vital for practice – Excellent day.” “Lots of knowledge and information to use in my every day work” “Thought it was extremely applicable to practice” More events are planned in London in September 2009 and January 2010 as well as in Bristol and Birmingham in the Autumn of 2009. Dates to be announced. With the kind support of the City Bridge Trust and DSCF.

For more information regarding our events in September 2009 and January 2010 please contact us at info@ or visit our website at http://www.


In Focus:Worldwide ISS branches meet


very 3 years the National Branches and Partner Organisations that comprise the ISS International Network get together for an exchange of views about the best way to meet the ever-increasing demand for our unique inter-country social services. Last month representatives from every Continent gathered in Capetown for 4 days of intensive dialogue. ISS UK was represented by our new Chief Executive (from 6th July) Andy Elvin and our Principal Social Worker, Georg Stahl. The hosts were our colleagues from ISS South Africa and we were welcomed by the Executive Mayor of Capetown and the South African Minister for Social Development. The location had been chosen specifically to attract a large attendance from social workers

throughout Africa. And so it transpired that professionals from as far apart as Algeria, Kenya, Senegal, for example, and the locals from the Western Cape, were able to focus on the particular challenges experienced in handling cases that affect more than one country. The international conference was dominated by two topics: how to make the ISS Network even stronger to meet the needs of the 21st Century; and the urgent requirement for more effective Child Protection policies in many countries. There were many noteworthy contributions but especially interesting were the presentations regarding Child Abduction from the Head of the South Africa Justice Department, and that regarding the role of a social worker in a predominantly Islamic country from the Head of ISS Turkey.

New Chief Executive


SS UK has appointed Andy Elvin as chief executive and he started on 6th July 2009. Andy is a social worker with a background in the statutory and voluntary sector both here and in the USA.

ISS UK joins global coalition against human trafficking


top The Traffik is a global movement working to combat the fastest growing global crime: human trafficking. Over the last years headlines concerning vulnerable people, who have become victims of trafficking have increased and have drawn public attention to this appalling crime. Trafficking in human beings concerns the movement of people nationally and internationally for the purpose of exploitation that includes sexual purposes, domestic servitude, benefit fraud or illegal adoption.

In March 2009 we joined the global coalition Stop The Traffik to support their campaigning activities to tackle trafficking and raise awareness of this issue. To achieve this goal we provide information on our daily advice line to professionals, who may come into contact with victims of trafficking. We furthermore raise awareness about trafficking within our training events to assist professionals in identifying possible victims and to enable them to offer adequate support services.

ISS UK (International Social Service UK)

1.11 Canterbury Court 1-3 Brixton Road London SW9 6DE 0207 735 8941

Summer Newsletter 2009  

ISS UK is an independent charity and part of an international network of social welfare agencies. Our mission is to promote and protect the...