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

Playing for Calais

September 18, 2015

A week today, some friends will be #playingforCalais at the Frog and Fiddle in Cheltenham.  Doors open 7pm on Friday 25th Sept.  There will be live music and poetry, with proceeds going to Tearfund and Unicef’s Refugee Crisis Relief efforts.

For tickets (£3) please contact  jon.hyde@gmail.com or see their Facebook page.

Big Interview

September 15, 2015

Adele Owen has been featured in the Big Interview in the local press.  Please find it here.

“I’m willing to house a Refugee”

September 10, 2015

If you’re thinking this and wondering what to do next, please read on!

Thank you for all the continued emails and questions about how you can best support refugees and asylum seekers here. We are waiting to see how exactly the recent Government pledge to house 20, 000 Syrians from camp by 2020 will be worked out. But as things currently, stand, here are some ways you can be involved. Some practical steps you can take are as follows:

1) Rent out a room in your house to someone already in the UK with Refugee Status. (You are able to ask for rent money – if someone is claiming Housing Benefit, Gloucester City Council can pay maximum of £68.18 every week.)

2) Rent out a self contained property to someone already in the UK with Refugee Status: could be for an individual or a family. Again, you can accept Housing Benefit as payment. If you would like a local charity to manage this for you, get in touch with Chapter 1, and mention GARAS.

3) If you would like to rent a property out to proposed resettled Syrian families, again please get in touch*, and you may like to copy Chapter 1 into the email too.

4) If you would like to look after a child in your home (be it an unaccompanied minor who makes the perilous journey to the UK by themselves, or a proposed Syrian child George Osbourne has been speaking about housing), consider becoming a foster carer. Contact Gloucestershire Social Services on 01452 427531, or Community Foster Care.

5) Think about being willing to put up a family or individual with no support. This may be someone who has been through the asylum system, been refused and is destitute and currently in limbo, and experiencing a very difficult period.

6) Another way you can give in a similar fashion, is by renting out a room or property you have going spare to anyone who has need. In the past, we have had people doing this and giving us the rent! With which we were able to fund our psychotherapy service to provide trauma counselling to refugee and asylum seeking clients. Here is a standing order mandate form. Be creative!

If any of these apply to you, *please contact GARAS – info@garas.org.uk . Many thanks.

Did you hear?

September 10, 2015

Our Patron- Advisor, Heaven Crawley as a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s programme, ‘The Migrant Dilemma’ last night?  You can listen again to the debate hosted by Edward Stourton here.

News Flash

September 7, 2015

It has been announced that the UK government will resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.*

With money going from the Foreign Aid budget given to councils to house them, it seems unlikely that we will be relying on them staying in people’s homes. But thank you for the offers of support. If you wish to foster unaccompanied minors –children who come to the UK without their parents, then you can contact Gloucestershire County Council on 01452 427531. A fostering charity in the area is Community Foster Care, you may wish to look into as well.

Here in Gloucester, we have already started making preparations to resettle Syrian families direct from camp. We will need more support to do this, in terms of people befriending, providing extra financial assistance and practical support. If you would like to be added to the mailing list about this, please email info@garas.org.uk with details about how you’d like to be involved.

Thank you for your support and interest which has brought us to this point, and we look forward to your continued interest and working together.

* This means those currently in Calais and others travelling there will be unaffected by the government’s change in policy. If you feel further action would be appropriate, please write to your MP and No 10.