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

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!

Where there is light.

January 20, 2020

A quick check on a definition of art is that it communicates ideas, (this can be political, spiritual and philosophical); to create a sense of beauty; to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions.

I will be bold and say that the Installation at Gloucester Cathedral, Where There is Light, does all of these.

It is an incredibly moving and powerful work of art which I would encourage everyone to go and visit.

Dont just take my words here is a link to what thee press have said!


It will be at the Cathedral till the 23rd February, I hope it continues throughout the coming weeks, to impress and inspire all who have a chance to spend time in it.


Happy Birthday

January 1, 2020

Happy Birthday – dont I mean Happy New Year?Why happy birthday?
If we were to sort our files by date of birth we would find that today is the day that overwhelms all other birthdays and as a method of sorting it would fail.
Why is this the case? Well surprising as it may sound to us not everyone knows their date of birth, maybe because its not important, maybe because its in a different calendar and difficult to calculate. But an official somewhere along the line wants a date to put into their forms and without any decent questioning or use of imagination, they take a guess and 1/01 it is.
This seems a perfect example of unimportant people can seem, how we fail to see the individual in front of us and where a bureaucracy over rules any desire to be compassionate.
As we step nervously into this new year and decade, concerned about how the last one turned out and how fragile so much of life seems here one suggestion as a Resolution – lets try always to take every indidvual as they are and who they are. Let us take the time to listen to each other, then maybe we will stand a chance of improving all our lives and making this year a bit better.
Happy new year and happy birthday.

Is this for you?

November 27, 2019

Educational Mentoring Volunteer Scheme

As part of GARAS’s commitment to our young people, we have set up a volunteer educational mentoring scheme, which aims to contribute to the support and encouragement of asylum seeking young people in the Gloucester area so that their transition to and progress through the education system is enhanced.

Having a positive experience of education is an important part of a young person’s well-being. Unfortunately in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to place them quickly into appropriate education settings. Sometimes it can take many months, and even then there might be a limit to the amount and type of provision offered. GARAS plays a critical role in supporting them through this time, providing advice and free English classes.

But we want more for these young people. The volunteer educational mentoring scheme is one piece of the jigsaw. Through this scheme we match up an appropriate volunteer with a young person, and they then meet for an hour once a week to talk about their school or college work.

The scheme has now being running for a few months. Here is what one of our volunteers has to say about taking part in the scheme:

I really enjoy being an educational mentor and it is certainly one of the highlights of my week. It’s great to see the young person I work with making progress in his college work and to know that I have played a small part in that. Sometimes we talk about his English and do practice exercises from his college book. Sometimes I have printed off a BBC sport match report for his favourite football team that we read together. At the moment he is preparing for a Maths test so we are working through some practice papers he has been given.”

He has a brilliant attitude to his learning and I’m so impressed with his determination. I think he appreciates the time to talk about his work one-to-one. I guess I act as a sort of practical cheerleader, cheering him on and adding an extra layer of support.”

We are always looking for more volunteers, and we have no shortage of young people who would benefit from this kind of support. Please see the information below for how you can find out more. The scheme has been set up in collaboration with Redcliffe College and with the support of the Diocese of Gloucester LIFE development fund.

Tim Davy

PS If this is of interest to you, or you would like to know more please contact Adele Owen at info . She will be able to provide more information and if you want to explore this further, we can arrange to meet.