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Asylum Welcome supports refugees, asylum seekers and immigration detainees in Oxford and Oxfordshire.
Our volunteers, members and staff share values based on a common humanity and social justice. Together, we work to reduce poverty, suffering and social isolation, and to enable asylum seekers and refugees to live with the respect and dignity to which they are entitled.
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett visits Asylum Welcome on Friday to pay tribute to the charity’s efforts to support people who have survived war, terrorism, and human rights violations and who now face detention and destitution in Oxford.
Director Kate Smart described new Home Office proposals remove asylum support payments and accommodation from families with young children as “a complete absence of basic, decent humanitarian values”.
The charity will be writing to the Home Office to express concerns about the proposals, which, it argues, will inevitably lead to children joining the numbers of those who are destitute.
It is also planning to step up its practical assistance. In addition to food parcels, the charity will begin providing breakfasts, targeted at those who are sleeping rough. Asylum Welcome runs with 120 local volunteers.
“We don’t have the resources to provide beds for people” said Kate Smart “but food, friendship, advice and a welcoming place during the day, is what we are good at.”
Annual General Meeting 2015
Join us at our AGM on September 9
Where: St Clements Church Family Centre, OX4 1DA
We will be reviewing a busy year and looking forward to the challenges in a
Dr. Alexander Betts, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre,
Immigration Announcements August 2015
In the last few days, the government has made a series of announcements about tougher policies affecting asylum seekers and other migrants who are in the UK.
Asylum Welcome has had a number of calls seeking further information and offering help. Thank you very much for your interest and support.
If you would like to show your support, here are a few ways:
1- If you know of any asylum seekers or refugees who are worried by the announcements and need some advice, encourage them to get in touch with the experienced advisers at our Welcome Centre.
2- Our foodbank always welcomes donations of tinned and packaged food and basic toiletries – which are all given to asylum seekers and refugees as needed.
3- The Oxford City of Sanctuary committee (a different organisation) is fielding offers of spare rooms for asylum seekers – you can find out more at http://oxford.cityofsanctuary.org/host-oxford
4- Contact your M.P. to give your views on the government’s proposals, and keep in touch with us, and with your M.P. as further details emerge in the new Immigration Bill in September.
5- Help our fundraising efforts, perhaps by hosting a cake sale or book sale or making a donation.
6- As fear and intolerance increases, help spread a message of welcome.
Refugee Week 2015: 'What's the Story?' - cancelled
Come join us for a public debate on media reporting on asylum and refugee issues! 18 June, 7 pm, Arts at the Old Fire Station (40 George StreetOxford OX1)
Featuring film clips and a presentation from Andy Lee, Producer, Investigations Unit Channel 4 News, who will talk about the undercover investigation into Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. The panel also includes refugee journalist Chofamba Sithole. It will be chaired by Paddy Coulter, Director of Oxford Global Media and former Director of Studies at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
See the Programme for all Refugee Week events in Oxford, compiled by Oxford City of Sanctuary
Alexander Betts runs Marathon in 2:45, raising £ 2.500 for Asylum Welcome
April 28 2015
Yesterday, Alexander Betts finished the London Marathon in a fantastic time - and he did so in support of Asylum Welcome!
Asylum Welcome is very grateful for the donations Alexander managed to raise - he "couldn't have chosen a better cause", as one of the donors put it.
We hope, this is the start of a continuing friendship - Alexander Betts not only is a great runner; he is an important voice in the debate on the terrible situation of refugees crossing the Mediterranean. See for instance his recently published comment "Forget the ‘war on smuggling’, we need to be helping refugees in need".
Guardian publishes letter about Asylum Welcome youth work
23 April 2015
Following the tragic death of refugees last week, Kate Smart describes Asylum Welcomes' work with teenagers who had come via the Mediterranean
"Our Oxford-based charity works with more than 20 Eritrean teenagers who have crossed the Mediterranean on their own. Currently there are seven Eritrean teenagers who have arrived in Oxford in the last few weeks, and over a dozen more who arrived longer ago. We expect more to arrive daily, and the awful events of the past few days confirm our worst fears about the dangers of their journey.
We are referred every unaccompanied asylum-seeking child who arrives in Oxfordshire – many of whom are from Eritrea. We employ a qualified social worker who helps with the initial programme of support for all newly arrived children in our area; we also run a youth club, and provide specialist casework support until the young people are in their early 20s. We offer a place to feel safe, welcome and understood, and to make friends with other children from a similar background. In a remarkably short time, with our help, they are behaving like children again. Asylum Welcome adds its voice to the many that find the death toll in the Mediterranean abhorrent. More must be done to rescue these children and provide them with a place of safety."
Kate Smart, Director, Asylum Welcome
Director of Refugee Studies Centre fundraising for Asylum Welcome at London Marathon
Alexander Betts, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford will be participating at the London Marathon on April 26 raising money to support our work with refugees and asylum seekers.
"This is the first and only time I have run for a charity. I am supporting Asylum Welcome because they are an Oxford-based charity doing great work for refugees and asylum seekers in the local community," Mr Betts explains his motivation.
“As the Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, I am proud to support their work. The London Marathon is a week before the UK general election, and a major focus is asylum and immigration. I want to use this race as a chance to symbolically highlight the importance of refugee rights within our community.“
We are very grateful for this remarkable initiative to support our work and wish Alexander good luck and a great run!
This is a great fundraising opportunity for Asylum Welcome, please support us and Alex via his online justgiving page.
Release of Detention inquiry report
March 3 2015
The Parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK has published its report, which calls for a fundamental change to the way immigration detention is used in the UK. It declares that the current detention system, which detains far too many people for far too long, cannot go on. "We welcome the report and hope that the Home Office will reflect on its conclusions", says our director Kate Smart.
Search #detentioninquiry and #Time4aTimeLimit for related debates on Twitter
Press release February 17 2015
Councillors told not to check statistics as decision day looms for extension of Campsfield Immigration Centre
Asylum Welcome issued a press release on the planned extension of Campsfield House
The release is signed by a number of local organisations and supporters: Kate Smart, Asylum Welcome; Gill Baden, Bail Observation Project; Ade Henderson, Oxford Amnesty International Group; Christine Hogg, member of Medical Justice; Emma Jones, Oxford Women for Justice and Peace; Bill MacKeith, Close Campsfield Campaign; Wyon Stansfeld, Oxford City of Sanctuary, Bridget Walker, member of Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network.
Asylum Welcome Submission Objecting to Cherwell District Council in respect of Planning Application 14/01778/F - Expansion of Camp
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"Annual Review 2013-2014"
"Click on picture to open annual report 2014 "
Annual Plan 2014-15
Asylum Welcome is looking forward with optimism in its plan for the year April 2014 - March 2015. Download the summary here to find out more about how we will be helping asylum seekers, refugees and detainees this year.