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


September 21, 2018

Just to let people know, that due to a low take up we have had to postpone the Interpreters Training that was due to start next week at GARAS.

If you, or anyone you know, may be interested in considering Interpreting and in particular, within a Therapeutic setting please let us know and we will reschedule this for later this autumn.


More Interesting Encounters.

September 7, 2018

I think I may have mentioned before how varied a life I get to lead and how many interesting people I meet. This is always true through the interaction with our clients, but is also in the conversations I have when I visit different groups and schools to talk about our work. Just this week I had a lovely time at Field Court Junior School where I spent time with all the Year 6 groups. What an inspiration they are and what wonderful questions and conversations we enjoyed.

One girl asked, “Can it really be right to put up barbed wire to stop people being safe?”. Absolutely – it’s responses like this that encourage me for the future.

Yesterday I spent time with a lovely group of women at the other end of their lives. Amongst them was one who had been interred in Sumatra during the Second World War. As she is now 86 she has strong memories of that time and the effect on her parents, (her mother was 3 1/2 stone when they were freed!). She was put to work as a ten year old.

A second woman was a refugee from Poland. Her father and uncle had escaped after the the war, but it was not until the mid 1950’s that she and her mother managed to escape from the grip of communism and be reunited with her father.

What amazing stories, what a great reminder that so many of us have such an interesting and revealing past.


job opportunity – please feel free to share

August 29, 2018

Details of a vacancy you might be interested in. Job Ref – 2/CF/18/545 Job Title – Transitional Learning Mentors Location – Gloucester Salary – Employer – Gloucestershire County Council Description Fixed term for 12 months Term time only plus 2 weeks

This exciting opportunity has arisen following a successful bid to the DfE to implement a pilot focusing on supporting the educational improvement of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) residing in Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire County Council, Youth Support Team, and Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS) are the core partner agencies working together to increase capacity for and access to education for UASC in Gloucestershire; funds have been secured through our joint bid to develop our offer to UASC, and part of this bid is funding the creation of two Transitional Learning Mentor (TLM) positions for a fixed period of 12 months with the possibility of a further 12 month extension following receipt of funding after April 19.

UASC can be some of the most vulnerable children in the country and accessing education can be challenging for them; both of the TLMs will, in summary, make sure pre and post 16 UASC residing in Gloucestershire (looked after by both Gloucestershire and other LAs) have a quick and smooth transition into school / training by facilitating support for each UASC and being their champion. They will also make sure that UASC are able to access and maintain post 16 education, training or employment.

Both TLMs will work closely with a range of agencies including schools, colleges, training providers, Gloucestershire Virtual School, other Virtual Schools around the UK, Youth Support Team, Prospects, GARAS, Designated Teachers, Social Care teams, Health professionals, and voluntary agencies.

As the funding for the pilot has been provided by the DfE, both TLMs will be involved in the pilot’s monitoring and evaluation of impact, and will be contributing to the DfE resource bank for UASC support. The TLM’s work and impact will also be shared with the DfE

For further details about the positions, please refer to the job profile.

For further reading, please use the links below:



For an informal discussion please contact Sue Faulkner via email susan.faulkner

Everyone deserves a friend

July 13, 2018

A privilege of my role is going into schools to speak about refugees and the work we do. With children you never know what will come up.

Today I went to a lovely school in Cheltenham and received support from both Gardners Lane Primary and Oakwood Primary School. The children had had a non-uniform day and also baked cakes.

They had also designed poster during Refugee Week and I was asked to give out the prizes to the winners in each year group.

The posters are lovely and very heart warming. The youngest winner had written I welcome refugees…. because everyone deserves a friend!

The oldest: we should always welcome everyone. So they can be safe from the war. I think everyone can live where they want to. Somewhere safe.

What can I say? beautifully and simply summed up.

On my return to the office I sat with someone as we cried because his family is not living somewhere safe, because they cannot get out and because they very desperately need a friend to help make this possible.

(if I can work out the technology I shall share the posters!)

A Personal Reflection

June 29, 2018

To end off the Guest Blogs we have a lovely reflection form a volunteer. Interestingly I spoke , last week, to a man in New York whose father came to Gloucester in 1939 on the Kinder transport.

My mother and her two sisters were sent to the UK in 1938 aged nine, eight and five. They were sent from Germany by their Catholic mother who had a Jewish father, as she knew they were in danger under Hitler’s rule. They came via Holland where they had been living with their mother. A Catholic/Jewish charity sponsored their visas to the UK. They were sent to various Catholic boarding schools in Scotland and England and were told that they must say they were Dutch and not German and they lost their mother tongue as a result. My mother has vivid memories of lying in bed at night crying for her mother. 

Later, when my mother was about 15, she and her sisters were taken under the wing of a wonderful couple from Liverpool, who became their guardians and gave them a taste of a warm and comfortable home life. The couple, who were childless, were both professors at Liverpool University and encouraged my mother and sisters in their higher education achievements.

My mother has now lived in the UK for 80 years (30 years in Gloucestershire) and I am forever grateful for the generosity and welcome of the people and government of the UK. And this is why I am proud to support the work of GARAS.

All the best 

Clare John (the Curtain maker!)