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
Gloucester
GL1 4SQ

Telephone: 01452 550528
email: info@garas.org.uk
www.garas.org.uk

Director
Adele Owen

REFLECTIONS ON TEN YEARS!

September 27, 2013

Our Director, Adele Owen, reflects on ten years at the helm of GARAS:

In September 2003 I moved from being a volunteer at GARAS into the post of Director and so it seems a good time to reflect.

Over that time I have met some amazing people and heard some devastating stories, I have been delighted at good news and been frustrated and distressed for those who have been refused or worse, forcibly removed back to danger.

Certain events stand out, I recall a very depressing November evening walk in the pouring rain after visiting two people being held in Police Custody. In that situation, despite our efforts, we were unable to prevent them being returned to their home countries. For both of them this was a dangerous move and seriously endangered their lives. I am glad to say that for one after several years he was able to find safety in Canada. (Facebook is a wonderful way for keeping in touch!)

There have been the days we have celebrated good news, positive decisions, citizenship, marriages, births, all of life is here! Every piece of work we do involves individual human beings, with their complexities. Which is why we remain frustrated; frustrated by circumstances that cause obstacles, policies and procedures that are difficult to breach and a public perception that is perpetuated by some aspects of the media who seem to intentionally misinform.

Circumstances that include not being believed and bureaucracies that forget they are working with individuals. This includes the regular changes in the Home Office that have knock on effects as delays get longer! Government policies and procedures that get harder with each successive year. We now await the role out of an Immigration Act that promises to tie everything together seamlessly!

As for the public perception and the media……..It remains a frustration that has been here for the entire ten years, that certain aspects of the British press are happy to perpetuate myths and use inaccurate language to describe any area of migration

However, despite the frustrations, I remain passionate in the work we do at GARAS and hope we can continue to provide this support in Gloucester for as long as it is needed.