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
email: info@garas.org.uk

Adele Owen

First day of Refugee Week 2017

June 19, 2017

I had a lovely start to the week visiting a primary school in the heart of Gloucestershire. We had a great morning thinking about the challenges of having to leave suddenly and what would you take. The children were remarkable, I had great answers to my questions. Although I am not quite sure we have anyone coming as asylum seekers from Mars quite yet! The answer to why would you need your passport, from a five year old? "So they know who you are!" So cool.

Back in the office and it’s the reality our clients face every time they go to sign. It is a requirement to sign with Immigration as stated on your IS96, for some it’s every fortnight, others once a month and for some lucky people, less frequently. But every time there is the fear that today maybe the day they pick you up. Then, what happens next? Where will you be taken to? How can you get a solicitor? Who will help?

Tomorrow includes talks and an Audit, so let’s see how that goes.


June 16, 2017

As Refugee Week approaches rapidly we are delighted that this year we will be involved in great event to be hosted at the Guildhall in Gloucester.

Black Men on the Couch is an event that raises awareness of the challenges of talking through issues, particularly for men. Men have, for so long, been expected to be strong and keep up the right image. This evening helps to show that men can talk!

IN the psychotherapists chair will be Rotimi Akinsete and the guests will be Alex Owumi, a professional basketball player and best selling author of Qaddafi’s Point Guard. and Mouli Hujale, a Somalian humanitarian journalist and advocate for refugees.

This promises to be a really interesting evening and all are welcome. It is a free (although donations to the work of GARAS will be very welcome!)

If you are interested tickets can be booked through: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-men-on-the-couch-gloucester-tickets-34879337036

I hope to see some of you there.


countdown continues

June 1, 2017

A second Immigration concern is, we would also ask politicians to include a commitment to vulnerable young people across Europe and beyond, acknowledging that whether they are supported by local social services or are on Dublin iii agreements or Dubs Amendment the support be in place to ensure they are well looked after.

Just as Lord Dubs entered the UK on the Kindertransport scheme, ask your candidates to remember that every child matters, and to remember and offer hope and security to the most vulnerable who have lost so much, by ensuring safe passage for them to family and opportunities in the UK.


week 2

May 18, 2017

Three weeks to go.

The second main area of concern is in the topic of Immigration.We would hope that any incoming Government will maintain the pledge to bring in Syrians and other vulnerable Refugees caught in dreadful circumstances and that this be increased. In order to assist this to happen, measures need to be in place to encourage more landlords to assist in providing accommodation, for example to those on resettlement schemes.

Ask your parliamentary candidates to pledge to continue the Syrian Vulnerable People’s Vulnerable Scheme, to remember and assist other refugees around the world and to facilitate this to happen by ensuring they can access housing, which can be an obstacle to the scheme progressing.


In the lead up to the Election – some ideas from GARAS

May 12, 2017


The General Election is now 27 days away and here we are again thinking about the effect that policies can have on the work we do at GARAS and on the lives of our clients. It is a challenge to narrow this down to a manageable number for campaigning purposes. However, there are a few areas of concern that you may wish to ask your Parliamentary candidates about as the campaigns heat up, manifestos are completed and messages are conveyed to the population.

There are two main areas of concern that I would encourage us to contemplate, specifically Immigration around asylum seekers and access to education. I will be posting a different part to this each week in the lead up to the 8th June.

Firstly, I would like to raise a vital topic, which has far reaching consequences for those involved: Education. Over the past few years, we have found it increasingly difficult to assist young people into education from about 15 years old upwards. There are a number of reasons for this, including independent decision making due to schools having become Academies, and therefore being outside LEA (Local Education Authority) control and the influence of League Tables on schools in their consideration of taking a risk to accept a young person. From 16 upwards this becomes even harder where there are fewer 6th Forms and Colleges and where there is a reluctance to accept young people outside the normal term starts which can mean it is possible for nearly an entire year to pass before education is begun. This is so frustrating for a group of young people very keen to learn and to study and to contribute. And is not good when young people then have so much time on their hands.

Ask your parliamentary candidates to ensure that every child in Gloucestershire can access education, and to address schools and colleges which will not allow new arrivals to attend full time if at all. Where funding is a concern, ask them to ensure education receives reasonable monies for the betterment of children of today, our leaders of tomorrow.