Hard at work on Bristol's Asylum Seeker's Allotment Project
One of the most discussed topics of 2015 is the huge numbers of asylum seekers seeking safety in other nearby countries and some making the dangerous journey to Europe at levels not seen since the end of World War II. The numbers arriving in the UK are comparatively tiny; however, Bristol, as a City of Sanctuary, has been one of many places to offer welcome and help to those arriving here. There are a number of organisations in Bristol who offer support to refugees and asylum seekers. These include:
Bristol Refugee Rights provides a place of welcome in Bristol where asylum seekers and refugees can meet and be supported to play a full part in the life of the wider community and also campaign for the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Bristol Refugee Rights aims to deliver a ‘user-led’ service that addresses the practical, psychological and human rights needs of refugees and asylum seekers.
Address: Malcolm X Community Centre, City Road, Bristol, BS2 8YH
Tel: 0117 908 0844
This is a ‘first stop’ clinic for newly arrived asylum seekers in Bristol. It is run on behalf of all three PCTs in Bristol. The Haven provides a comprehensive health assessment for those who have not yet registered with a GP. This includes access to the Haven GP, public health screening and immunisations. They also facilitate registration to primary care practices.
Address: Montpelier Health Centre, Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5PT
Tel: 0117 942 6811
BHN extends solidarity to people seeking asylum and experiencing destitution through accommodation and creative community involvement. BHN provides full board accommodation in host households or in its large house for men in Bristol and community volunteering opportunities with both male and female asylum seekers experiencing destitution.
Borderlands supports disadvantaged and excluded people to improve their lives and the community in which they live: people who face great challenges and live difficult lives. They work especially with people seeking asylum in the UK or have become a refugee from other countries. They also support people who have been trafficked and trapped in domestic service or the sex industry. Borderlands offers hope to people who may see themselves as lost or abandoned and need support to find a way forward.
Address: Borderlands (South West) Ltd, The Assisi Centre, Lawfords Gate, Bristol, BS5 0RE
Telephone: 07718 598 188
Bristol Signing Support (info through Bristol Refugee Rights)
A local campaign for a better, fairer treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, supported by: Bristol Hospitality Network, Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign, Bristol City of Sanctuary.
City of Sanctuary is a national network, a movement of local groups made up by businesses, community organisations and individuals, all with one thing in common; their belief that sanctuary seekers should be welcomed, and that their contribution to society should be celebrated. Bristol launched as a city of sanctuary in 2011, and since then Bristol City of Sanctuary have been working hard with other local organisations to make sure the status is deserved. We run events, initiatives and conferences in the city and also help publicise campaigns and events being organised by other charities and organisations.
Tel: 0117 941 5960
Refugee Action’s key Volunteer Project helps asylum seekers and refugees understand their rights and rebuild their lives. Refugee Action’s Choices service provides independent, confidential and non-directive advice to people thinking about returning to their home country.
Address: 43–45 Easton Business Centre, Felix Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0HE
Asylum Help: 0808 8000 630.
Choices service: 0808 800 0007.
Tel: 0117 941 5960.
Refugee Women of Bristol raises the educational and economic status of refugee and asylum seeking women and provides access to English language learning, volunteering and training opportunities in order to increase the ability of service users to gain employment and support themselves and reduce isolation and improve confidence.
At their drop in centre they see women from all over the world, including Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Gambia and many others countries. All women from a refugee or asylum seeking background are welcome.
Address: Refugee Women of Bristol, Unit 42 Easton Business Centre, Felix Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0HE
Tel: 0117 9415867
Bristol No Borders supports all those in struggle against borders; against incarceration, particularly detention centres; against exploitation of workers, particularly “illegal” workers. They challenge the concept of borders and the systems that maintain them. They work to develop spaces of solidarity, resistance and unity.
Bristol No Borders meets every other Tuesday from 7pm at Kebele, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 6JY.
Refugee Welcome Homes is a Community Interest Company set up to link socially conscious landlords with refugees needing a place to call home in Bristol.
Tel: 07734 347817 (Rachael)
Tel: 07447 408474 (Khaled)
BDASC is a voluntary group of concerned individuals and organisations, (including trade unions and religious groups). They set up around 11 years ago to raise the profile of asylum seekers and the difficulties they face in the UK.
The Red Cross supports refugees in a wide variety of ways, from offering emergency provisions to those facing severe hardship to giving orientation support and friendly advice to the most vulnerable. They can assist Family reunion and resettlement, travel, emergency large-scale arrivals and offer specialist support to young people and refugee women.
Address: Unit 19 Easton Business Centre, Felix Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0HE
Tel: 0117 941 5040
The b.friend project provides asylum seekers and refugees with one-to-one support. b.friend matches a volunteer with an asylum seeker or refugee for a period of up to one year, and equips them with the tools and support they need to meet regularly for companionship and support.
Address: The Power House, 88 Feeder Road, St Phillips, Bristol, BS2 0TH
Citizens UK (setting up local Bristol group)
organises communities to act together for power, social justice and the common good. They are in the process of setting up a local Bristol group.
The Walled Garden is an outdoor community space in the heart of Barton Hill. It provides a much-needed opportunity for local people from many different walks of life to engage with nature, food-growing, wood-working, outdoor cooking, and creative workshops. This beautiful space brings together diverse members of the community to spend time, learn, work and celebrate together.
Address : 60 Barton Hill Rd, BS5 0AW
Mobile: 07874 046 946
Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.
Central Refugee Week team
Emily Churchill Zaraa – Refugee Week UK Coordinator
Tel: 020 7012 1761
Address: Refugee Week, Counterpoints Arts, Unit 2.3, 128 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6SH
South West team
There are thousands of children in Bristol and the South West who cannot be looked after by their own family. This could be because of illness or family breakdowns or because they have experienced some form of neglect. TACT are actively looking for foster carers across Bristol and the South West to provide care and support to these children.
Address: The Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2QQ
Call: 0117 927 7725
Confidential support for migrants and asylum seekers who are living with or affected by HIV. Advice and information on issues including housing, finance, community care, legal services, education and training, and charges for care. Brigstowe also offer practical and emotional support which is flexible and dependent on individual needs.
Address: 176-178 Easton Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0ES
Tel: 0117 955 5038
Legal advice and representation to refugees and asylum seekers
Tel: 0117 924 8662