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

Anniversary is not the right word

February 23, 2023

Today proves a time for us as an organisation and as individuals to reflect and pause, as it marks the year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A year onwards, it is hard to bring to words the feelings associated with the mass amount of displacement that has affected our clients all over the world, and that has occurred and continues to occur on Ukrainian soil. For my own part, it seems to be a time to take a moment to be silent and give thanks to each and every client that has crossed through GARAS’s doors this past year. Your strength, your resilience, and your bravery will never be something to be overlooked or undervalued. It is a gift to know your stories, to share our days with you, and to work within your communities. In the year ahead, we continue to look forward to supporting all refugees and asylum-seekers within the Gloucestershire community. Today, we take time to remember and remind ourselves of the gravity of the sacrifices that you and your families have made to be here.

Julianne Holcombe

This Week

November 4, 2022

I have found this week hard. Maybe we all have.

To spend time with those deeply affected by the current circumstances in our asylum system is tough.

To know the situation is not looking like it will be Improved is any time soon is desperate. What is going on?

In the past twelve years we have seen the rise and development of the “hostile environment” leading to where we are now.

A broken system, that appears broken by those who should be fixing it, is breaking spirits. It is inhumane and it is appalling.

We want to give hope and struggle to find it, we want to find solutions but have no power to implement any.

But the bottom line is this: people seeking sanctuary are courageously keeping going, despite the many obstacles.

Here at GARAS, we will continue to give them a welcoming and safe space, treating each person as an individual, not a number.


In Honour of Barbara Winton

September 26, 2022

We are sad to learn of the death of our Patron, Barbara Winton.

We were privileged to met Barbara in 2019 at the time of our 20th birthday. She came to an event we organised at St Mary de Crypt. Her work with Safe Passage and compassion for refugee children was inspiring. In her own right Barbara did so much to further the cause and worked hard in an attempt to improve rights for children along with the aim of reuniting children here with family members being able to come here. Even during lockdowns we discussed campaigns and how to challenge the impending Nationality and Borders Act.

This was coupled with her family history and the work her father, Sir Nicholas Winton, had done in ensuring hundreds of Jewish children were able to reach safety on the Kindertransport.

Thank you, Barbara, I am so proud to have known you and to have you as a GARAS patron. You will be sorely missed.

Here we go again

March 4, 2022

There will be wars and rumours of war.

Sadly this has been ever thus. In the relative short time GARAS has existed, nearly 23 years, we have seen how true this is.

Over those years we have worked with clients fleeing conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo, Eritrea and Ethiopia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We support those affected by the wars in Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and the constant affects of the fighting in Afghanistan.

Now it feels different again because it feels closer. But not for those caught up. For every single refugee from conflict there are so many, many losses. Everyone has to make the decision – do you leave or stay? And how long to wait before making the decision.

Who stays behind? If anyone?

Those who leave are those who can, those with resources to move. Maybe those who already have a passport. For those who can afford it a flight is more comfortable, but those choices may be taken away.

This can happen to any of us. One day we are at work and going home to our families the next it’s gone and all our comforts with it.

I have worked with refugee doctors, teachers, pastors, engineers, University lecturers, farmers, shop keepers and market stall holders. All their lives were thrown into disarray by the decisions of governments with no consideration for the individuals dreadfully affected.

All lives are precious and all have the right to be safe.

Let’s remember and support Ukraine. And while we do please let us remember these other countries as well and, sadly, so many more.


Tragedy in the English Channel

November 25, 2021

Following the tragic events on Wednesday 24 November in the English Channel, we are reminded of the fragility of life for those fleeing their homelands and looking for safety. Please see this link for a well worded statement from Families Together that expresses our mutual reaction.