Our Mission

At GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) we offer support to those seeking asylum in Gloucestershire, welcoming them when they arrive, advocating for them in their daily struggles, supporting them if they face being sent back as well as helping them adjust to their long term future if they are recognised as refugees.

Contact Information

Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS)
The Trust Centre
Falkner St

Telephone: 01452 550528
General enquiries: info@garas.org.uk
Administrative enquiries: admin@garas.org.uk

Adele Owen

Asylum support rates reduced for families

July 17, 2015

About 6 years ago my family decided that during Lent, we would attempt to live on the amount an asylum seeking family are given by the Home Office.  Those six weeks were a challenge, but we managed.

We managed because we knew that at by Easter it would be over and anything we had postponed purchasing was now permissible again. However, it taught us some valuable lessons.  We could not buy anything in bulk, as we normally would, so no big sacks of rice or other cheaper commodities.  Fortunately, neither of the children required shoes through those six weeks, but my daughter became ill because she decided it would make sense to eat very cheaply at lunch time and used packet soup every school day.

So following that experience, I had a tiny flavour of what it means to live on NASS support. However, now we discover that this has been too generous and from the 10th August 2015, the support for a family will drop quite considerably.  For a family like ours it will reduce by £124 a month, a single mother with two children will lose £156 a month.

That is going to make a huge impact on families who have already been stopped from participating in normal activities such as the right to work. According to UKVI, a reasonable allowance for travel each week is £3 per person, £1 for cleaning and  £2.5 for clothing and shoes.  When my children were in 6th form, their travel costs a week were £5 and that is for the catchment school.

So my response is this – let’s take the most vulnerable and kick them a little more.  Let’s remove a little more dignity, let’s reduce the possibilities of integration through clubs and activities, or let’s tackle this and tell our MPs that we think that this is unreasonable and take up the opportunity to join any campaign on this topic that may arise.  Please remember these come in on the 10th August so there is not long.