Sometimes we see joy even in the darkest of times

The last 12 months really have been the darkest of times. So many of our clients have faced difficulties throughout the pandemic – unprecedented legal, housing and financial worries, unemployment, isolation, domestic violence, and of course Covid-driven health challenges.

We are so proud of the work that we’ve been able to do; our community really has come together to reduce adversity and suffering. Thank you so much for your help and support.  

Asylum Welcome rose to the challenge at every turn – staying open even throughout the worst times of lockdown, running a skeleton service, and providing support remotely or – where necessary – in person. We maintained vital food deliveries, helped with crucial legal claims, and brought comfort and assistance to clients old and new.

Ruth arrived in the UK from Kenya in 2018. She made a claim for asylum but quickly found herself struggling to afford even basic necessities. We were able to help with access to our hardship fund, to cover those basic needs.

We helped Ruth apply for asylum support and then her asylum claim was successful – granting her refugee status and ensuring that she could begin an ordinary life away from persecution. With refugee status secured, we referred Ruth to a local legal firm to apply for family reunion visas. This was successful, and, after three very difficult years apart, Ruth will finally be reunited with her children this month.

Our education and employment teams have also helped Ruth on her path to becoming a nurse and we recently learned that she has just been employed as a care assistant, enabling her to support herself.

Ruth’s story is remarkable and shows what a difference our work can make. However, many of our clients still face extraordinary levels of hardship and adversity.

Yvonne was born in Jamaica and came to the UK as a young girl as part of the Windrush generation. We have been supporting her for 18 months but she is still in great need, after years of hardship. Yvonne is still awaiting the outcome of her asylum claim. She has no status, no benefits, she cannot work, and she is ill. She lives alone, in arrears, in rented accommodation – and her current accommodation is unsuitable given her age and ill health. Hers is a heartbreaking story, one of unfairness and a lack of basic human rights.

As with all of our clients, we are determined to help Yvonne as much as we can. So many of our clients need support to find permanent accommodation, and need help from our food bank or hardship fund (we still need to provide weekly hardship payments of £30-£40 for approximately 50 people every week).

Right now, as lockdown eases and vaccinations continue at speed, most of our clients remain particularly vulnerable and they will often need longer-term help.

Can you help?

Please make a donation of £20, £40 or whatever you can afford.

If you have not already, would you consider making your donation a standing order?

We are so grateful for the continued concern, solidarity and support of people like you.

Thank you so much.

PS: We at Asylum Welcome are deeply concerned by the plans to reform the asylum system announced on 24th March by the Home Secretary. We welcome the commitment to change the asylum system and to reduce the huge and increasing delays within it, but are worried that it will do this by reducing the rights and opportunities that people seeking sanctuary need and have a right to. The overall tone of the Plan, as laid out by Home Secretary Priti Patel here and which you can read in full here, is one of the UK being flooded by “illegal” refugees, when we actually receive far fewer than most European countries. The implication is that the limitations of our asylum system are their fault rather than ours. That is far from our experience. The Plan very clearly divides refugees into welcome and unwelcome, according to how they arrive in the UK rather than based on the legitimacy of their claim for asylum. We know that such an approach would have risked excluding some of most desperate clients. These proposals would make it even harder for people like Ruth and Yvonne to claim asylum and to live safely and with dignity, often for years, while their asylum cases are being heard. We encourage you to read more about the New Plan for Immigration here and find out what you can do to help us oppose it. Thank you.

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