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

In the footsteps of a footballer?

November 12, 2020

Hello

Would you like to follow in the footsteps of Gary Lineker and sign up to host a refugee in your home for a short or longer term placement? Please have a listen to this clip https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08xgnz1 .

At GARAS, we enjoy working with Refugees at Home, a charity which offers hosting placements for homeless asylum seeker and refugee individuals. When someone has come to the end of their current housing situation for a variety of reasons, offering a Refugees at Home placement is another option for clients to choose, often when choices are limited. One or two take these up each year. If you live in Gloucester specifically, hosts are always welcome! Please take a look at their advice for more information, thank you.

Hannah

Yet Again – can you help?

November 2, 2020

Here we go again, back into Lockdown, back to life as we don’t want it to be.

Life with reduced human contact, and any sense of normality.

This has and is hard for everyone. Its particularly hard for those who wait for decisions to be made on their lives here, who wait for interviews or court dates.

Who don’t know when they can see their solicitor or even if they have one.

And who like many on the fringes of life, do not have the resources to get through this as easily as others.

One significant difference this time is that we have been able to put the Internet into all asylum homes in Gloucester and Cheltenham over the last few weeks so that increases their ability to communicate with others and to be able to have lessons on line or watch the football! (Just be normal!)

This was possible because we got a grant to cover this for six months, but in order to maintain that post February we would like to encourage sponsors – the cost per month per household is around £32 so we would love to have sponsors to help cover the 34 households who benefit from this support.

Over and above that we would like to be able to provide more clients with equipment to enable on line classes or therapy sessions. If you have a laptop or tablet with a camera that you are not using and would like to donate it to someone who could use it, we can really use them. We will clean them up and pass them on to those in greatest need.

Adele

how are you managing?

April 17, 2020

A year ago GARAS moved into our new premises and we found that change quite a significant disruption to our work, but here we are now dealing with probably, the biggest disruption any of us, have ever experienced.

The support of asylum seekers and refugees is extremely important to us so we have built a whole new way of working to make sure that our clients continue to get our help and know that they are not abandoned. These are kind of times we are very grateful to have many networks and partnerships and it seems that to many organisations and individuals are working so well together. There are areas of expertise, such as medical advice and information in a multitude of different languages that we are able to disseminate to our clients so they can read it in their mother tongue. That is thanks to the work of Doctors of The World, for instance, who have made this resource available to everyone.

That wider support offer is also local with various local initiatives going on that mean that together we can support each other.

There are, however, some areas where differences appear. It is at times like this that those with fewer means are more disadvantaged, one way specifically is in digital connectivity. So many of our connections that keep us coping are because we have access to the internet, but there are many who dont and one group who are specifically affected by this are asylum seekers in Asylum Support. So when trying to contemplate maintaining English support and education for children, or when trying to remain connected to enjoy many of the on-line opportunities they struggle to manage this. I am pleased to say that the Government is being made aware of this, but all of us can play our part in keeping on the pressure. It has been said that we are in this together – but its not quite true, is it?

So I wish you well and safety and please be assured GARAS is not shut, just functioning differently in case you come across anyone needing our support.

Adele

The Listening Project

March 13, 2020

If you want to relax with the radio this afternoon, or if you are in forced self -isolation maybe a little light listening could be the answer.

Maybe you are familiar with The Listening Project on Radio 4, described by the BBC as ” a partnership between BBC Radio 4, BBC local and national radio stations, and the British Library.–”

Capturing the nation in conversation

“Since 2012 we have been collecting intimate conversations between friends or relatives, to build a unique picture of our lives today. We have collected over a thousand so far, and most will be broadcast across BBC radio, while all are archived by the British Library, preserving them for future generations.”

So this afternoon at 4.50 if everything goes according to planyou will be able to hear a conversation recorded here at GARAS . Ihope you enjoy it and find it a little celebrationof a posItive friendshipbuilt over many years at GARAS.

Do let me know any feedback you may have!

Adele Owen Director GARAS Trust Centre, Falkner St, Gloucester GL1 4SQ 01452 550528/550584 info www.garas.org.uk

Lent 2020 challenge

February 20, 2020

Do you want to participate in an interesting Lent Challenge?

Rather than give up chocolate or alcohol or Facebook, how about this? Throughout Lent, try to live on the amount an asylum seeker lives on? This begins on Wednesday 26th February? An asylum seeker provided with asylum support only receives £37.75 per person per week to cover their food, travel, clothing, toiletries and phone top-up. (Their rent and utility costs are not included, so you can be excused that!)

If you are working then travel to and from work is excluded from this amount, as well as any employment expenses because asylum seekers do not have permission to work. It is a real challenge and experience, I can assure you.

If you are feeling generous, the money you save could then be donated to GARAS or another refugee charity.

So that’s from Ash Wednesday (26 Feb) until Holy Saturday (11 April).

If you would like to share your experience, we would love to hear from you – you may even feature on a guest blog. Good luck!