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

“I’m willing to house a Refugee”

September 10, 2015

If you’re thinking this and wondering what to do next, please read on!

Thank you for all the continued emails and questions about how you can best support refugees and asylum seekers here. We are waiting to see how exactly the recent Government pledge to house 20, 000 Syrians from camp by 2020 will be worked out. But as things currently, stand, here are some ways you can be involved. Some practical steps you can take are as follows:

1) Rent out a room in your house to someone already in the UK with Refugee Status. (You are able to ask for rent money – if someone is claiming Housing Benefit, Gloucester City Council can pay maximum of £68.18 every week.)

2) Rent out a self contained property to someone already in the UK with Refugee Status: could be for an individual or a family. Again, you can accept Housing Benefit as payment. If you would like a local charity to manage this for you, get in touch with Chapter 1, and mention GARAS.

3) If you would like to rent a property out to proposed resettled Syrian families, again please get in touch*, and you may like to copy Chapter 1 into the email too.

4) If you would like to look after a child in your home (be it an unaccompanied minor who makes the perilous journey to the UK by themselves, or a proposed Syrian child George Osbourne has been speaking about housing), consider becoming a foster carer. Contact Gloucestershire Social Services on 01452 427531, or Community Foster Care.

5) Think about being willing to put up a family or individual with no support. This may be someone who has been through the asylum system, been refused and is destitute and currently in limbo, and experiencing a very difficult period.

6) Another way you can give in a similar fashion, is by renting out a room or property you have going spare to anyone who has need. In the past, we have had people doing this and giving us the rent! With which we were able to fund our psychotherapy service to provide trauma counselling to refugee and asylum seeking clients. Here is a standing order mandate form. Be creative!

If any of these apply to you, *please contact GARAS – info@garas.org.uk . Many thanks.

Comments

September 3, 2015

If nothing else I would just like to be involved somehow, offering support to those you help. Both my grandmothers spent their early years in refugee camps in Eastern Europe so I have grown up listening to their stories.”

Today, Thursday 3rd September 2015 at 3pm, we will host a conference at GARAS entitled,
“InHumanE Rights? What is happening in Asylum?”
Our main speaker will be Dr Nick Gill from the University of Exeter. He will present on ‘Inhumanity in our time: Perspectives on border control and asylum in Britain’. There will then be some updates on immigration policy changes from the GARAS team and tea and cake afterwards. If you’d like to come, please RSVP to info@garas.org.uk .
In the week leading up to this, we’ll be posting snippets from emails into the GARAS inbox, showing some more of the positive, caring, compassionate response to the migrant crisis well documented in the press. All emails have been received in the past month.

What can I do? – Some more ideas

September 1, 2015

Following on from Friday’s post, here are a few more ideas of what you can do to help those in need here, who have been through so much:

What can you do?

Employers – offer work experience, voluntary opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees. Befriend- go along to meals held at Brunswick Baptist (get in touch with them or us for more info)… Welcome the foreigner!!

Landlords- rent out rooms and flats to those on housing benefits, who don’t have a guarantor and can’t afford high fees to rent homes through letting agents.  Offer affordable, good quality accommodation. (An organisation who can help you manage this is Chapter 1– Tel 01452 412500, ask for Samantha and mention GARAS.)

Teach someone English.  Have someone round for a meal.

Visit people in hospital or who are unwell.

Help someone prepare for a job interview.

Donate your clothes to charity shops so people can snap up nice quality clothes for not much (or for free if they’re already volunteering in said shop!).

Write and record a song to get into the charts (a la Black Eyed Peas ‘Where is the love?’).

Get your famous friends on board to become our patrons and raise the profile and raise the fundraising stakes.

Contribute to billboard campaigns, such as ‘I am an immigrant‘ by JCWI.

Give your tins to FoodBank who feed the poor and destitute. Otherwise drop some off direct to GARAS. (For updated list of what kind of things are required check out our website.)

Learn a language – say hello to people in Arabic, for example. Test out your school French on people from West Africa.  Make them feel welcome.

Donate a sleeping bag you no longer need or use, to a charity who give it to those in need.

Show some hospitality. Treat people to an afternoon tea in the Cotswolds, and let them show and serve you their Ethiopian coffee/ Indian chai.

Break the fast at the end of Ramadan days with Muslim friends.

Be normal. Be friendly. Be yourself. Give of your time.

Find out what people’s skills are and encourage them to use them. Ask that graphic designer to design you a poster; ask the photographer to take some photos. Don’t take advantage but let that person come alive.

Play cricket with the Afghan kids in the park.

Play football with the guys in the park.

Get involved in fostering. You may well meet some unaccompanied minors in need of some TLC, support and stability. Eg Community Foster Care, Fostering Matters.

Raise funds- do something sponsored.

Donate your unwanted furniture to help someone furnish their new house or flat.

Donate some of your unused materials/ threads/ sewing machines to the sewing project.

Give your old toys and children’s books to those without.

Invite people over on Christmas Day.

If you’re a hairdresser, offer free model cuts or reduced rates for those in need of a trim.

Do what you can. Be yourself. Do what only you can do. (Get in touch! We’d love to hear from you!)