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
Gloucester
GL1 4SQ

Telephone: 01452 550528
email: info@garas.org.uk
www.garas.org.uk

Director
Adele Owen

Thoughts from a School Mental Health Nurse -now Trustee

June 18, 2019

In January 2010, I started work at a senior school in Gloucester. My role was to see students who were having problems with their mental health or mental wellbeing. This brought me into contact with a group of students that had fled their own country because they were in fear of their lives or being forced to join military organisations.

Having been a mental health nurse for over twenty years. I was only too aware of the terrible situation that people with mental health problems found themselves in. Despite this, I was totally unprepared for the dire situations that this group of students had experienced. Their situations were so far from my own limited life experiences, that it was difficult to comprehend. This was compounded by the experiences they had faced to get to this country. Young children of 14 years of age had faced brutality, were often in fear of their lives, saw others die on the journey and lived in awful conditions. All this in an effort to get to a place that they felt would be safe.

They then put all their effort into learning the language and getting an education. Finally, at the age of 18 years they then had to apply to remain in this country. This is a very difficult time for most 18 year olds but this was exponentially difficult for these students.

During my contact with these students, I found myself feeling overwhelmed by their experiences and horrified that they had experienced this at such a young age. Many of these students were clearly showing symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Due to my work with these students, I was introduced to GARAS and their fantastic work. I was so glad that an organisation existed to help the students and others needing support when they arrived in Gloucestershire. This led me to applying and becoming a Trustee for GARAS in 2018.

Michael Gibbons