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

Refugee Week Reflections #3

June 17, 2014

In the late 1930s, Kindertransport saved the lives of many children when families took the risk to save their children even if they lost their own lives. Today parents and families make the same kind of choices. 

Some of the most inspiring people I meet are the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children. They make extraordinarily scary journeys to attempt to find safety.  We have worked with well over 100 young people each with their own story of death and danger and multiple bereavements.

Some stick out amongst them all, I will never forget the brothers who had fled Afghanistan after their family had been blown up.  The older brother, around 16 had led his highly traumatised 11 year brother across many borders in an attempt to find safety.  There were no available foster carers in Gloucester on their arrival, so I took them to a cheap local hotel while something could be sorted out. Little brother was one of the most withdrawn individuals I have met and I could make little progress in attempting him to feel a little bit safer.

On our way to the hotel he found a football in our car and suddenly in the mirror I caught his eyes, which had brightened up as he clutched the ball.  I assured them that they could keep it, anything to keep that small look of hope grow.  But as we got out at the hotel the older brother said no….he had become so used to having to make decisions to avoid carrying anything other than the essentials, he couldn’t take this gift..

They’re just kids…..

Refugee Week Reflections #2

June 17, 2014

So much choice, I could write about Iraqis still waiting for a decision after all these years, but I thought I would tell you about the theme this year.  In the UK we want to celebrate the contribution that people will make if given the chance. 

It has been a frustration, that since 2005 asylum seekers are not allowed to work while they wait for a decision; this means no chance to use their skills, to contribute to the economy or to build their CVs.  It is also frustrating that rarely does anyone reach their previous work roles as the UK frequently does not recognise previous qualifications and experience.  So I am delighted by the UASC [Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children] heading off to University and the contributions I do see happening.  And last summer we were so pleased when a doctor from Sudan passed all the obligatory exams and processes and started to work at an A & E in the North of England.

Refugee Week Reflections

June 17, 2014

Here are some reflections written by one of the team on the work we do.  There will be more popping up during the week.  Look out for them, as we recognise Refugee Week.

Given the conference that has just ended in London, I thought I would tell you about some of the women I have worked with who have experienced such violence. 

In the 2004/5 we worked with several women from the DRC. Of them 90% had experienced sexual violence, rape as a weapon of war. They are all memorable, but the one who haunts me still is the woman I sat with in a Gloucester police cell for many hours. She had been threatened with being returned and yet had been such a victim. She was in a terrible state because she had been held in a police cell in Kinshasa where she was gang raped. 

A period in Yarlswood did nothing to help her self worth and after release she quietly disappeared as she couldn’t take the pressure any more. 

I pray that somewhere she is safe.



June 9, 2014

Would you like to work with us?  Have a look below and please get in touch if so!



Hate Crime and Incident Development Worker

Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers is seeking applications for the post of Hate Crime and Incident Development Worker.


Part time: 18 Hours a week

Salary: £21,067 pro rata NJC Scale 24

Location: GARAS Drop-in Centre – across Gloucester’s communities

Closing date: Monday 23rd June 2014

Interview date: To be confirmed

This one-year post aim is to co-ordinate and develop a more effective reporting and follow-up system for hate incidents through developing stronger relationships with communities at risk of hate incidents to increase confidence in reporting and to develop community reporting through a network of community groups around the county and to support these groups to raise awareness in schools and other appropriate settings.

This post is funded by The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Gloucestershire

Closing Date for Applications : 5pm on Monday 23rd June

Post is subject to Criminal records Bureau checks

For information and application please e-mail: info@garas.org.uk or call 01452 550528

Lent Challenge

February 21, 2014

If you have had enough of ‘giving something up for Lent’ such as chocolate or alcohol and fancy doing something different, we have just the thing for you!  Why not take up the challenge of living on Asylum Support rates for the period of Lent this year?  (From Wednesday 5th March, to Saturday 19th April 2014.)  Asylum seekers who rely on support from the Home Office whilst their cases are being considered receive the following money per week:

A single person aged over 18 – £36.62

A couple (eg married couple/ in civil partnership) – £72.52

Lone parent aged 18 or over – £43.94

Teenager aged at least 16 but under 18 – £39.80

Child aged under 16 – £52.96

So, you can use this list to work out your or your family’s entitlement and set yourself a weekly budget.  Please note that this does not include rents, utilities or council tax, so you don’t have to factor in these costs.  But this does include/ you would need to use this money to pay for use of phones, food, clothing, toiletries and transport.  If you give this a go, why not donate the money you have saved to GARAS?  Cheques made payable to GARAS and can be sent to the office.  Several of us here have done this over the past few years.  It is a sobering experience and can be very thought provoking and insightful, particularly if you are used to having income at your disposal.