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

Urgent Needs

*** AFGHANISTAN APPEAL ***

As the situation in Afghanistan has unfolded in recent weeks, GARAS has been overwhelmed with the level of support from the general public across Gloucestershire.  We have received so many kind offers of help and donations, for which we are humbly grateful.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of storage space as well as the restrictions of Covid, we are unable to accept donations of clothing, bedding, cots etc.  If you have any larger furniture in excellent condition, please contact Jennie Watts (admin@garas.org.uk) with photos, and she will respond to let you know if we can make good use of it.

There are 2 ways that GARAS is looking for help in this current crisis:

Firstly, if you are able to make a financial donation, we will ensure that it is used effectively and efficiently.  Having money in the bank enables us to attend to any need with the fastest speed.

Secondly if you, or anyone who you know, has a 3+ bedroom house available to rent, we would be delighted to hear from you.  GARAS receives funding from the Home Office to rent and furnish houses for Afghan families, but until the houses are there we are unable to place families.  Please therefore do ask your friends, families and contacts if they have, or know of any, houses to rent.  GARAS has an excellent housing management programme, which we have been running for several years: for more information please email Jennie Watts (admin@garas.org.uk) who will be pleased to speak with you.

*** UPDATE *** If you would like to purchase a personal shopping trolley for a family, we desperately need several. Please drop these at our centre: The Trust Centre, Falkner Street, Gloucester, GL1 4SQ or contact Jennie Watts (admin@garas.org.uk) for more information.

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Other needs:

As well as the general list of donations below, we currently have an urgent need for laptops and tablets in good working condition. Many of our clients face digital poverty in addition to other needs, and for those with children who need to be home schooled during the current pandemic, laptops and tablets (with working webcams) are vital.

If you are able to help with any of these requests, please contact our office on 01452 550528, or info@garas.org.uk. Thank you!

We are also grateful and open to receiving the following donations:

 Food, household goods and toiletries:

~ You can download and print off shopping lists for ongoing, general practical donations here

~ New or nearly new kettles, toasters & microwaves for clients who are moving house. 

~ Please contact us if you have furniture you wish to donate.  We do not have storage so unfortunately cannot use everything that is offered.  (If you have any storage available in Gloucester, we would be interested to hear from you.)

– Educational materials to give to or use with clients in our English classes:

~ Pens for our English classes.

~ Dictionaries: Arabic-English dictionary (please click here for link), English-Farsi picture dictionary (please click here for link), Amharic-English and Tigrinya-English dictionaries. Also the Oxford Essential Dictionary (aimed at those learning English) (please click here for link, also available on Ebay).

– Miscellaneous:

~ Serviced bicycles (especially men’s bikes, to help clients to get to job interviews and work, and children’s bikes for our unaccompanied asylum-seeking children). Bikes can be serviced at a very reasonable price at Gloucester Bike Project.

~ Backpacks, D locks and bike lights for clients who cycle.

~ Rucksacks (daysacks) for students for school and college.

~ Footballs, sizes 3, 4 and 5, which we can give to recently arrived refugee children.

~ Nice material for the women’s sewing group for dressmaking.

~ Laptops & tablets: If you have a laptop to donate, these would be particularly appreciated by our clients currently living in digital poverty. A lack of access to the internet can deny clients job opportunities and access to benefits, whilst children cannot be home schooled in the current pandemic without a laptop or tablet with a working webcam. Please contact us on 01452 550528, or info@garas.org.uk if you have a laptop or tablet to donate – we will ensure they are wiped of any previous information before passing them on.

~ Kites and children’s bikes, for our unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

We regret that we are unable to take the following donations (please refer to the charities mentioned below, as we work with, and refer clients to, these organisations):

  • Clothing: we suggest you take these along to a charity shop, for example the Salvation Army shop on Eastgate Street, GL1 1QU or Elim charity shop Lifelink, Park End Rd, GL1 5AN where clients can obtain them at an affordable price. 
  • Furniture: larger furniture may be of use for the Afghan Resettlement Programme – please email photos to admin@garas.org.uk. However, if we are unable to make good use of the furniture, it can be offered to the Furniture Recycling Project, Emmaus or other similar organisations.
  • Children’s items: we work with Gloucestershire Bundles so please refer to them for what they need – through their facebook page or website. Look out for details of their drop off days to find out which items they are accepting.