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

You, Me and the Distance Between Us

October 28, 2016

Last night I had the privilege of watching again “You, Me and The Distance Between Us,” a production that was devised and performed by the very talented Ellen Muriel.  Ellen had spent some time in the past year volunteering in a number of places linked with the asylum journey: Lesbos, Calais and the Greek/Macedonian border.

An astute observer of people, she has used her Drama training to put together a very powerful and moving portrayal of the stories she heard; the volunteers she worked with; and the refugees she met.  It is not in any way a saccharin-coated portrayal.  She can be piercingly self critical, she questions motivations and she challenges preconceptions.  But underneath she tells the story of very real people, trying to make very real decisions and journeys and trying to be human in a world that is progressively ignoring them. She uses the medium of storytelling, singing, puppetry and silhouettes as ways to recount these various observations.  So much resonated with our work at GARAS and made me reflect again on our interaction with our clients and with each other and our motivation for being involved in this area of work.

I can thoroughly recommend it.  If you didn’t manage to catch it yourself, you still have a chance.  Ellen will be performing in Bristol on the 28th and 29th October in Hamilton House.  In the meantime, if you see it advertised in your area I recommend you take the opportunity to see it!


Refugee Week – Day Four

June 24, 2016

This post was written yesterday & appeared on some social media channels then…

It’s an interesting day today isn’t it? It all feels a bit tense and I suspect there will be a far higher turn out than we have seen in years.

And it got me thinking about the pros and cons of democracy and the very fact that we have an opportunity to be allowed to make such a monumental decision.  I have worked with clients from countries as diverse as North Korea and Eritrea where  elections may be held, but nothing can change, the ruling party will stay the same.

Or countries such as the DRC or Sierra Leone where there have been competing parties and the very act of campaigning has been dangerous and the outcome has led to violence on the streets.

The causes of the civil war in Syria are complex, but a lack of voice and ability to democratically change things is a significant factor.

So today, whatever we think of the referendum, whatever our concerns about the outcome, whatever we think of the different parties involved in the whole process we have been able to make our own decision, that decision will be counted and, we believe, the truth of the outcome will be told in the numbers.

I am thankful we have this freedom and I hope and pray that we will be able to accept the outcome peacefully even if we are unhappy with it.


Refugee Children in Europe

April 26, 2016

Following this disappointing news not to resettle 3000 vulnerable unaccompanied children from Europe to Britain, please consider signing this petition and sharing, to get the government to rethink this decision. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128833

Refugee Crisis – Fostering Support Needed

January 6, 2016

MPs are backing plans to bring 3000 children to the UK, who are unaccompanied minors in Europe. These children will need foster carers. If you are interested in being a foster carer, please go through the usual channels. Locally, that would be to Gloucestershire County Council or foster charities and agencies such as Community Foster Care and Fostering Matters. When you get in touch with them, you can say you are willing to support an unaccompanied asylum seeking child.

Syrian Resettlement

December 4, 2015

We are pleased to be able to announce at last that we will be working to resettle Syrian refugees direct from refugee camps in Gloucestershire!  Meetings that began in the summer were soon accelerated with the amazing outpouring of public support in early autumn, which led to the Government pledging to resettle 20 000 Syrians over the next five years.  A small number of those will come to Gloucestershire.

We are working closely with the district councils and county council and have recruited three resettlement support workers.  The are already well connected and come with brilliant experience and network contacts.  They will work to support the families settling into their new communities throughout the county, familiarising them with the locality and assisting their access to healthcare, education and employment.

We are so thankful for all the amazing offers of support and donations that keep coming in.  They will help not only those resettling on this new programme, but also with the existing clients to which we remain thoroughly committed.  We are confident that with the help of volunteers and the wider community, we will help our new neighbours in feeling as if they are a part of a connected society.