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 – Day One

June 20, 2016

At some point in 1941, a small family left their home and almost everything they owned, in Java and travelled to India where the father joined the Indian Army.  In time the mother, with two small girls, took the SS Stratheden to sail across the world, round the coast of Africa and finally arriving in Scotland to live out the rest of the war. In February 1942 the father was one of the many who were captured at the Fall of Singapore.  Fortunately for them, at some point in the Autumn of 1945 the father finally returned and the reunion was joyful, the family was together again.

So why do I believe that it is important to allow people to move to safety? Because the older girl is my mother, her story has become our story.  A story that resonates every day for me and for all who have a glimpse of the threat of war, the violence that it entails, the challenge of travel in dangerous circumstances, the pain of separation and the joy of reunion.

Let’s celebrate Refugee Week.


Event round up

May 16, 2016

Open Garden – 11 June 2016

You are invited to an Open Garden in Staunton on Saturday 11th June 2016, 2-6pm.  Proceeds will be split evenly between GARAS and Freedom from Torture.  Please see the poster, share among your contacts and come along to Vine Farm, Malvern Rd, Staunton, GL19 3NZ.  Tickets are available on the door: £5 per person, under 10s go free.  This includes tea and cake.  (The event will be called off if it’s raining – tel 01452 840177.)

Film Night – 26 June 2016

A documentary about the making of Queens of Syria will be shown on Sunday 26th June at 8.30 pm at the Sherborne Cinema in Gloucester. Tickets are £5 each (popcorn is £1) and there will be a retiring collection for GARAS.

Adele Owen, our Director, will be there and give a short presentation prior to the screening.  Doors open at 8pm.  You can view a trailer here.

The live show will open at the Young Vic in London in July, and run for a week before touring the UK, so this is an exclusive screening!


The Film night will be shown during Refugee Week.  If you would like to organise an event: fundraising or otherwise during Refugee Week, please contact us and we can provide literature about GARAS and information about refugees and asylum seekers here.

Refugee Week – Wednesday

June 17, 2015

It appears that this years theme for Refugee Week is the contribution made by refugees to their host country or to the world (Einstein always comes to mind!).

I have a great long list of famous refugees and the offspring of refugees.  It is tremendous and what they have accomplished is very notable. There have been contributions to all kinds areas of life from business to the arts, from science to sport. It always amuses me that this includes Prince Philip, Sir Alec Issigonis (the designer of the iconic Mini) and the Portuguese refugees who brought us Fish and Chips.

Then there are the less remembered contributors: the Ugandan Asians who have successfully supported the local economies and the corner shops; those who quietly support our elderly and those in need of care and those who bring their skills and motivation and drive.

But I feel a little uncomfortable about this as well.  A bit like my thoughts yesterday, let’s alter the words of Kennedy and “ask not what they can give to us, but what we can give to them!”

Refugee Week – Tuesday

June 16, 2015

Did you happen to hear One-to-one this morning? On Radio 4?

It was an interview with a refugee who had made the journey from political prisoner to safety in the UK.

It got me thinking about our own journeys and why we make them. Have you ever had to leave your home? I don’t mean for holidays, or when its a positive decision. I am thinking about those decisions that are forced upon us by circumstances beyond our control. It might be fairly straightforward like lack of opportunities at home and the necessity to move to find work. It may be through domestic issues which are no longer manageable or it may be because it is no longer safe at home.

Whatever our reasons, it’s very challenging. Our lives are disrupted, we feel out of control, in unfamiliar settings. Maybe you remember the challenges of starting at University or a new job? We need to form new relationships and don’t know who we can trust. In our familiar places we are understood in new places the context has gone, how do we recover that? Do we have to explain ourselves all the time? How do we manage the new culture that we find ourselves in?

So what does that mean for those forced to leave everything, to uproot and flee? To start a new life again is a multiple of all those emotions and more.

May I encourage you to think about what that might mean? To stop and feel that challenge and to grasp a little of our shared humanity, and then reach out to welcome and to help to share a little of that burden.

Refugee Week – Monday

June 15, 2015

Today is one of those Mondays when many of our clients are expected to sign on at the Police Station.
It’s not the Police who expect your signature, it’s UKVI in the form of Immigration Officers.
This always carries an element of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the authority figures that the building and officers represent and fear of the van…..

“Will the van be there today? If it is, who are they expecting to collect? Will it be me? Will I be detained? Am I at risk of return to my home country?”

The fear is palpable. It infects our offices. Someone told me today that the torture didn’t end in his home country, it carries on through the systems imposed on him through the Home Office.

Another reality in the life of an asylum seeker…