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

how are you managing?

April 17, 2020

A year ago GARAS moved into our new premises and we found that change quite a significant disruption to our work, but here we are now dealing with probably, the biggest disruption any of us, have ever experienced.

The support of asylum seekers and refugees is extremely important to us so we have built a whole new way of working to make sure that our clients continue to get our help and know that they are not abandoned. These are kind of times we are very grateful to have many networks and partnerships and it seems that to many organisations and individuals are working so well together. There are areas of expertise, such as medical advice and information in a multitude of different languages that we are able to disseminate to our clients so they can read it in their mother tongue. That is thanks to the work of Doctors of The World, for instance, who have made this resource available to everyone.

That wider support offer is also local with various local initiatives going on that mean that together we can support each other.

There are, however, some areas where differences appear. It is at times like this that those with fewer means are more disadvantaged, one way specifically is in digital connectivity. So many of our connections that keep us coping are because we have access to the internet, but there are many who dont and one group who are specifically affected by this are asylum seekers in Asylum Support. So when trying to contemplate maintaining English support and education for children, or when trying to remain connected to enjoy many of the on-line opportunities they struggle to manage this. I am pleased to say that the Government is being made aware of this, but all of us can play our part in keeping on the pressure. It has been said that we are in this together – but its not quite true, is it?

So I wish you well and safety and please be assured GARAS is not shut, just functioning differently in case you come across anyone needing our support.


The Listening Project

March 13, 2020

If you want to relax with the radio this afternoon, or if you are in forced self -isolation maybe a little light listening could be the answer.

Maybe you are familiar with The Listening Project on Radio 4, described by the BBC as ” a partnership between BBC Radio 4, BBC local and national radio stations, and the British Library.–”

Capturing the nation in conversation

“Since 2012 we have been collecting intimate conversations between friends or relatives, to build a unique picture of our lives today. We have collected over a thousand so far, and most will be broadcast across BBC radio, while all are archived by the British Library, preserving them for future generations.”

So this afternoon at 4.50 if everything goes according to planyou will be able to hear a conversation recorded here at GARAS . Ihope you enjoy it and find it a little celebrationof a posItive friendshipbuilt over many years at GARAS.

Do let me know any feedback you may have!

Adele Owen Director GARAS Trust Centre, Falkner St, Gloucester GL1 4SQ 01452 550528/550584 info www.garas.org.uk

Lent 2020 challenge

February 20, 2020

Do you want to participate in an interesting Lent Challenge?

Rather than give up chocolate or alcohol or Facebook, how about this? Throughout Lent, try to live on the amount an asylum seeker lives on? This begins on Wednesday 26th February? An asylum seeker provided with asylum support only receives £37.75 per person per week to cover their food, travel, clothing, toiletries and phone top-up. (Their rent and utility costs are not included, so you can be excused that!)

If you are working then travel to and from work is excluded from this amount, as well as any employment expenses because asylum seekers do not have permission to work. It is a real challenge and experience, I can assure you.

If you are feeling generous, the money you save could then be donated to GARAS or another refugee charity.

So that’s from Ash Wednesday (26 Feb) until Holy Saturday (11 April).

If you would like to share your experience, we would love to hear from you – you may even feature on a guest blog. Good luck!

Where there is light.

January 20, 2020

A quick check on a definition of art is that it communicates ideas, (this can be political, spiritual and philosophical); to create a sense of beauty; to explore the nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions.

I will be bold and say that the Installation at Gloucester Cathedral, Where There is Light, does all of these.

It is an incredibly moving and powerful work of art which I would encourage everyone to go and visit.

Dont just take my words here is a link to what thee press have said!


It will be at the Cathedral till the 23rd February, I hope it continues throughout the coming weeks, to impress and inspire all who have a chance to spend time in it.


Happy Birthday

January 1, 2020

Happy Birthday – dont I mean Happy New Year?Why happy birthday?
If we were to sort our files by date of birth we would find that today is the day that overwhelms all other birthdays and as a method of sorting it would fail.
Why is this the case? Well surprising as it may sound to us not everyone knows their date of birth, maybe because its not important, maybe because its in a different calendar and difficult to calculate. But an official somewhere along the line wants a date to put into their forms and without any decent questioning or use of imagination, they take a guess and 1/01 it is.
This seems a perfect example of unimportant people can seem, how we fail to see the individual in front of us and where a bureaucracy over rules any desire to be compassionate.
As we step nervously into this new year and decade, concerned about how the last one turned out and how fragile so much of life seems here one suggestion as a Resolution – lets try always to take every indidvual as they are and who they are. Let us take the time to listen to each other, then maybe we will stand a chance of improving all our lives and making this year a bit better.
Happy new year and happy birthday.