Need help?

News

The latest news from Asylum Welcome.

We also contribute to the debates on asylum and detention in the media.

The 70th Anniversary of the Refugee Convention, and why it matters today

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


The 28th July 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Convention was signed in 1951 by a group of nations that agreed to welcome people displaced by the events of the Second World War and its aftermath. In 1967, the Convention expanded to include all people fleeing persecution, and this has been the foundation of our asylum system ever since.


On Tuesday 20th June, however, the Nationality and Borders Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons by 366 votes to 265. This legislation, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), violates the terms of the Refugee Convention, a convention which the UK helped to draft.


The government has also published their response to the consultation which proceeded this Bill, and to which Asylum Welcome contributed. While it is disappointing that no changes were implemented as a result of what some people are calling a 'sham' consultation, it is heartening that 75% of respondents expressed opposition to the government's reforms. It is the voices of this 75% that we are amplifying through our mini-exhibition over the next three weeks.


Our mini-exhibition, Have Heart, Take Heart, is made up of around 150 postcards displaying messages of support and solidarity for refugees and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire, written and posted to us over the past month. Visitors will have the opportunity to contribute their own messages of solidarity to the wall, and to honour the spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention by showing that refugees are a core part of our community.


Details for Have Heart, Take Heart

Location: The Upper Gallery at the Old Fire Station (40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ).

Dates: From Wednesday 28th July to Saturday 21st August.

Times: the exhibition space is open 10am to 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday.


Please continue to wear a mask indoors if you are able to.


Thank you to those who have written one of these postcards, displayed an orange heart in your window, and/or contacted you MPs over the past few weeks. All of these actions contribute to creating a more welcoming atmosphere for refugees and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire. 




OHM partners rally round to prevent five people from returning to the streets

Friday, July 23, 2021

Originally published in Oxfordshire Community Foundation.

As temporary accommodation at Canterbury House had to be handed back, five people with no recourse to public funds were at risk of returning to rough sleeping. Thanks to a rapid response from University College and other partners in Oxfordshire Homeless Movement, these people are now safely housed.

During the first lockdown, people experiencing homelessness were brought in from the streets as part of the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative. In Oxford, people were housed in hotels and youth hostels around the city until the City Council reached an agreement with Oxford Brookes University to lease Canterbury House until July 2021. As this lease came to end last week, five residents had still not found the necessary move-on accommodation. All were ineligible for statutory support or funding due to their countries of origin, and were at serious risk of returning to the streets.

Having tried to secure accommodation in the weeks prior to closure to no avail, on the day the lease on Canterbury House ended Oxfordshire Homeless Movement (OHM) Project Manager Yvonne Pinner made an urgent phone call to Angela Unsworth, Domestic Bursar at University College. Angela sits on OHM’s steering group representing Oxford University.

Angela came back extraordinarily quickly with a house and authority to use it until September, which gives the Movement valuable time to find a more permanent solution. OHM immediately mobilised its partners to move the five guests in:

  • University College has given over a house free of charge, with ensuite facilities for each room, and is also paying for all utilities and providing key items such as white goods. They arranged for the property to be cleaned, and alongside housing workers from Connection Support welcomed all the guests on the day they arrived.
  • Connection Support is providing 121 assistance needed for guests while staying in Univ’s property.
  • Aspire quickly arranged the necessary licence agreements with University College and the guests.
  • The Gatehouse provided a large starter food pack and other necessities, and will be delivering weekly food parcels for each guest during their stay.
  • St Mungo’s provided advice and arranged for the five guests to be transported from Canterbury House to their new residence.
  • Asylum Welcome gave crucial background information on the five guests to ensure their specific support needs could be met.

A project to secure long-term accommodation for people with no recourse to public funds is also underway, which will also provide tailored support for each person, to the point where they become self-sufficient and contribute positively to the Oxfordshire community.

Jane Cranston, OHM Chair, comments: “This is a truly fabulous example of what working together can do – and so quickly! It shows that people and organisations everywhere are motivated by their common humanity – but also that drive, trust and collaboration really do make good things happen. I have to give a particular thank you to Yvonne, who had a sleepless night wondering what she could do to stop these five people ending up on the streets. The next step is long-term accommodation – but this provides a valuable breathing space.”

Find out more about Oxfordshire Homeless Movement


Turning practice into policy: Getting a local refugee charity more involved in advocacy

Friday, July 16, 2021

Lloyds Bank Foundation has just published a blog by Mark Goldring, Asylum Welcome's Director, on Turning practice into policy: Getting a local refugee charity more involved in advocacy.

Here is an extract:

"Having worked at national charities well known for their advocacy and campaigning work and learned from some outstanding practitioners, I was clear when joining Asylum Welcome last year that I saw advocacy as a significant part of our role. It’s important for us to use our extensive practical experience to help improve the policy and practice that impacts our clients, not just to accept the status quo and help them to live with it. With the new Nationality and Borders Bill, which seriously damages the rights of asylum seekers in the UK, now being proposed, advocacy feels more important and urgent than ever.

But what does advocacy mean for a small, local refugee charity such as Asylum Welcome? Based in Oxford, we have a small staff, tight budget, a substantial but very part time volunteer team and a demanding set of practical activities to deliver daily. These give us great insight and experience that we can use to influence policy.

The first thing to recognise is that for refugees, as with many of the people needing support in the U.K., some policy is shaped nationally and some locally. We need to work at both levels..."

To continue reading the full blog, please click here.

Nationality and Borders Bill - Your help needed: please act now!

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

On 6th July the Government published its Nationality and Borders Bill. While there are some positive commitments to assist the small number of refugees coming to the U.K. on official Resettlement programmes, the measures it contains would not only fail to protect asylum seekers in need of sanctuary, but also treat them as criminals. 

Please watch this short video on what the new legislation really means for the future of refugees in Britain.

This new legislation is making refugees in Oxfordshire feel even more vulnerable. Do your part to show people seeking asylum that Oxfordshire is a welcoming community by taking part in our ORANGE HEART CAMPAIGN.

Will you take action against this anti-asylum Bill?

The new Bill will mean that thousands of men, woman and children, who would currently be accepted as refugees would no longer be given safety in the UK due to their method of arrival. Some could be criminalised and put in prison for up to four years.People seeking asylum whose claims are deemed ‘inadmissible’ will have to wait a period of time before their application can be processed, whilst the Government tries to remove them to so-called 'safe countries'. This could be up to six months, adding to the backlog of cases the Home Office already has.

The proposed legislation will lead to people being held in reception centres that could be offshore. This is likely to have a significant impact the mental health and well-being of already vulnerable individuals.

The Government insists it supports the expansion of safe routes to the UK. Unfortunately, nothing in this bill makes good on those claims.

Next week the Bill will be debated in Parliament for the first time during its Second Reading.

We need you to write to your MP today and ask them to speak out against this anti-asylum, anti- refugee Bill at this crucial moment.

Even if you have written before, please take action now and write ahead of Tuesday’s debate, so that MPs know that their constituents care. And if you can’t do it before the 19th, do still write. The legislation will take several months to go through Parliament.


With thanks to The Refugee Council, key points you may want to include in your letter to your MP:

When the Second Reading of the Nationality and Borders Bill takes place, it’s vital that MPs stand up for the principle of refugee protection for everyone seeking asylum in the UK.

The Government claims that its legislation will break up smuggling networks, but nothing in the proposals would actually stop people arriving in the UK. Instead, the bill punishes vulnerable people who are seeking our protection after fleeing war, persecution, and tyranny.At the very moment we should be giving people support and a fair hearing, the bill proposes that we criminalise them, or put them into the limbo of ‘temporary protection’, uncertain about their futures and unable to integrate.

These new plans will be costly and simply increase delays and inefficiency in the system, either as people wait longer before they are able to access the asylum system, or as they cruelly and needlessly pass through our courts and prisons system.

All people seeking protection should be allowed to make an asylum claim, no matter how they have arrived in the UK. Creating a two-tier system that grants lesser rights to those who arrive in the UK irregularly is a violation of the Refugee Convention and misunderstands why and how people flee oppression.

When vulnerable people are on our shores, we must receive them fairly and treat them decently. Proposals to house people seeking asylum in ‘accommodation centres’ undermines that approach, meaning people will be less able to access the support and legal advice they need, and will be less likely to have their claims heard through a fair process.

We need more safe and legal routes so that refugees can arrive in the UK without making dangerous journeys. In the immediate term, that should mean two things: first, a strong commitment to resettling 10,000 refugees each year, on an ongoing basis. Second, proposals to restrict refugee family reunion for certain groups must be scrapped. Refugee family reunion is a vital lifeline that brings separate families back together, and must continue.

If easier, you can download these key points in word format by clicking here.

Let us be clear: these proposals that will soon be debated amount to an anti-asylum, an anti- refugee bill. In that context, I hope you will take this opportunity to stand up for refugees, and for the future of the UK’s asylum system.

Thank you!

Asylum Welcome

New Borders Bill: Asylum Welcome’s first reaction

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

By Mark Goldring,

Director, Asylum Welcome

As expected, the Government has published the Borders Bill today to implement the changes to our asylum system first announced in a draft plan in March. Since then, there has been an official consultation process, but this seems to have been completely ignored. The consultation outcome hasn’t been published and the proposals haven’t changed.

The concerns of Asylum Welcome remain those that we fed into the consultation. We support the commitment to crack down on money-making people smugglers but don’t think the Bill will do this. What it will more effectively do is turn people fleeing violence and persecution into criminals, so breaching their fundamental human right to seek sanctuary, and denying them many of the very limited benefits they currently have.

We welcome the broad commitment to continue resettlement programmes, but note that we still have no numbers or even a commitment to increase the very modest current size of these. And we reiterate that such programmes are a complement to, not a replacement for, a proper asylum programme. Most refugees simply can’t even get to the places where they might have an outside chance of being among the less than 1% selected for such programmes.

The bill presents the refugees as the problem. What it should do is look at opening more safe passages that don’t require the use of smugglers. And it might focus closer to home on why delays and waiting lists to process claims are ten times as great as they were a decade ago, and why the number of successful appeals has increased significantly, perhaps together showing that the much-publicised abuse of the system isn’t quite what it seems.

We have been in touch with all local MPs and many Councillors in recent months. In the next few days we will work with the hundreds of other like-minded agencies that are part of the Together With Refugees campaign to understand and plan next steps linked to the parliamentary process and seek your active involvement in challenging this Anti-Refugee Bill.

Exciting vacancy: Refugees and Migrant Communities Support Coordinator

Friday, June 18, 2021

Asylum Welcome is working with Refugee and Migrant Community Organisations (hereafter called RCOs) to improve their own organisational strength, provide better services to members, collaborate with Asylum Welcome on issues of shared interest and promote community inclusion.

To find out more about our work with RCOs click here.

We have an exciting position available looking for someone who would be able to link with RCOs of all shapes and sizes across Oxford and the county to share information, help support their capacity - technical and financial - and plan joint activity to help them make a bigger difference to refugees and migrants. For more information on the role please click here for the Job Description and to apply follow this link.

Job title: Refugees and Migrant Communities Support Coordinator

Based at: Asylum Welcome, Unit 7 NewTec Place, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE, with flexibility for home working and travel to RCOs around the county.

Duration: 18 months initially, funded by Oxfordshire Community Foundation. The work is of strategic importance to Asylum Welcome and we are committed to seeking funds to extend the contract.

The appointment is for two days a week (0.4 FTE)

Salary: Asylum Welcome’s coordinator scale, £29,350-£31,350, pro rate, according to seniority and experience.

Deadline to apply: 30 June 2021

We cannot walk alone...

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Hello,

The theme of this year’s Refugee Week is inspired by the remarkable ‘I have a dream’ speech, in which Martin Luther King said “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

Here at Asylum Welcome, we are absolutely committed to that message and we are immensely grateful for your commitment too. We stand alongside asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants who face extraordinary difficulties in their lives. We are here to help – and, with your support, we do!

I’m writing to ask if you could mark Refugee Week yourself by making a special donation in support of, and in solidarity with, Oxfordshire’s asylum seeker and refugee community?

Our clients have been so badly affected by Covid-19 – not just in terms of health, but economically, with housing, with worsening delays in their asylum claims, and with unprecedented concerns about loved ones abroad.

To add to these difficulties, the government is proposing new draconian laws which would demonise asylum seekers who arrive in the UK through unsafe routes. We believe that this plan is driven more by a desire to protect our borders than by a responsibility to offer protection to those genuinely fearing persecution.

In the whirlwind of so many disturbing news stories, I want to share Adel’s story (not his real name) as an example of our commitment to the message “We cannot walk alone.”

Adel has endured the unimaginable. However, he is determined to make a life for himself, away from the fear and persecution that he faced at home. Adel came to the UK on a lorry when he was 16 years old, escaping from a war-torn country in the Middle East. He was put under the care of the local authority in Kent. Adel went through the schooling system and then moved to Oxford; he got a driver’s licence and started working.

When Adel became an adult, his asylum claim was rejected, and he could no longer work. Adel was made homeless during the pandemic but is currently being accommodated under the ‘Everyone In’ scheme that arose in response to Covid-19.

After nine long, hard years, Adel’s asylum claim was finally recently accepted. However, the hostel where he is staying has now issued him with an eviction notice and he must find new accommodation. This has been a huge blow for Adel.

Asylum Welcome has supported Adel throughout, ensuring that he has never had to “walk alone.” This has included immigration support, financial assistance through our hardship fund, access to welfare benefits, health support, and referral to a homelessness project – keeping him housed throughout the pandemic. Adel is now accessing broader support through our education and employment service, a crucial step as he moves forward with his life.

Sadly, Adel’s story is not unique. We see so many people who bravely aspire to live in the UK – free from fear and with a burning desire to improve their lives and to help others, including through work or volunteering. This is why we also stand as proud supporters of the campaign ‘Oxfordshire has a heart – and it’s orange’.

Last month, a new national coalition was launched called Together With Refugees. The coalition is calling for a more effective and humane approach to the UK’s asylum system. The coalition’s symbol is an orange heart, the colour of the refugee flag. The heart is a unifying symbol to show refugees and asylum seekers that we are fighting with them. As Martin Luther King said, “We cannot walk alone.” We walk with those in need and we walk with you too, as our supporters.

Could you help refugees and asylum seekers by making a Refugee Week donation of £20, £40, or whatever you can afford? This will go toward providing essential services to the asylum seekers and refugees that we assist every day.

With your support, we will help many more people like Adel. If you haven’t done so, would you consider making your donation a standing order? This helps us to plan for the future.

You can also display an orange heart in your window or through social media, tagging in @AsylumWelcome, to show refugees and asylum seekers that we stand with them. You can also print out this orange heart slip (by clicking here or clicking on the image below), write a message of support and send it to us so we can display them in our Welcome Centre. The messages will be read by our clients and shared online to show that the people of Oxfordshire stand together with refugees. You can also visit our website for more information on how to get involved. 



Thank you so much for all your support for Asylum Welcome; it really is so crucial. I hope that over time I may have the chance to meet many of you and to thank you in person.

With kind regards and deep gratitude,



PS. Refugee Week coincides with UN World Refugee Day on Sunday 20th June. This year marks 70 years since the inception of the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention. It was ground-breaking then and remains vital today. Your support now – during Refugee Week – couldn’t be more important. Thank you.

Refugee Week: Really walking together?

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

This year’s Refugee Week theme is We Cannot Walk Alone. One significant question here is who the “we” refers to.

Listening to The Home Secretary and her colleagues, it would be easy to believe that asylum seekers are scroungers, arriving for a better or easier life and intending to live off our welfare state. My experience of working with refugees shows this to be far, far from the truth.

One of the first clients who I met on joining Asylum Welcome was a woman who had lived rough and sofa surfed for ten years before her legal status to remain in the U.K. (and this also means being allowed to work) was finally confirmed. When I interviewed her, now secure in her new home, the thing she stressed most was her desire to be able to give something back. She now commutes every week from Banbury to Oxford to volunteer her time with us to welcome and support other refugees.

Last week I met a leader from the Oxford Sudanese community, many of whom arrived as refugees. Families are keen to help their children thrive in the local school system, but also to understand their own language and culture. So, they set up a supplementary Saturday school which now has over a hundred children. They have run it through thick and thin over many years, with teachers volunteering their time and families paying for the rental of a local school building. Asylum Welcome are helping with training and access to IT resources to help it through lockdown, but the families, -the refugees, -have run and paid for it, and gradually opened it to other Arabic speaking communities.

Many refugees have really struggled during lockdown; their uncertain status, frequent lack of security of status, housing, work, benefits have added to the challenges that we have all faced. Asylum Welcome have scaled up our hardship support by a factor of four based on public generosity. Many individuals, churches and community groups have themselves shown amazing generosity. One story really brought this out and reminded me that refugees want first and foremost to be active citizens, givers not just takers.

A Syrian community leader was telling me how his organisation had delivered fifteen thousand meals to people in need during the lockdown. An impressive achievement indeed, but it wasn’t this that he was most proud of. What really pleased him was that more of the meals had been delivered to people from outside the Syrian community than to Syrians themselves. He was rightly proud that his community were givers, and that the recipients were those in need, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

Just like the woman who came into our office a few weeks back, having just got her first job, and gave me an envelope of cash from her first pay packet to help others in similar situations, we are constantly reminded that people want to help each other. Everyone wants to be part of “we”.  Feeling part of a civilised society is based on helping people live safely and fulfil their potential. That is as true for refugees as everyone else. Refugees want to be active citizens too!

Mark Goldring

Director, Asylum Welcome

Refugee Week 14-20 June 2021

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998, it is held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June.

This year’s theme is ‘We Cannot Walk Alone,’ inspired by Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It celebrates how our families and communities have come together over the last year in the face of crisis. With the New Plan for Immigration being discussed, and worsening inequality for refugees and asylum seekers, Refugee Week reminds us how we can all support each other to create inclusive and resilient communities.

Oxford has a heart – and it’s orange

Asylum Welcome is asking Oxfordshire to show refugees and asylum seekers that they aren’t alone – we stand with them. To do this, we are using the symbol of the orange heart. We want to create a welcoming community by showing the hearts in our front windows, across social media and in public places. We will come together to tell asylum seekers and refugees who live amongst us that, despite the negative voices they hear, there are many in Oxfordshire who welcome asylum seekers.

During Refugee Week we’ll be taking a giant orange heart around Oxford, asking people to contribute messages of support and solidarity that we can share with our clients and community. We’re also leading a group of key community figures on a walk through the contemporary experience of a refugee arriving in Oxford, and the challenges they face. We will show leaders how they can make changes to support asylum seekers and refugees.

Find out more about the orange heart here.

For more information about Refugee Week, and events being held nationally, see the official website.

For more information about events taking place in Oxfordshire, please click here.

Events in Oxfordshire

All events are free to attend.

15th June, 6pm - We Cannot Walk Alone: On Becoming a Kuwaiti Bidoon Refugee in the UK - Presentation + Q&A | Sanctuary Hosting

Ahmad Jaber will be discussing the relationship between language and identity, and how a people’s way of expression may be used as a tool to identify and target them. The aim of the event is to shed light on the complexity of being a stateless Kuwaiti Bidoon, especially in terms of being in limbo while in the asylum-seeking process, but also on how even small social (re)actions may be significantly helpful.
Watch here.

16th June, 11am-2pm – Exhibition Opening: We Cannot Walk Alone | Refugee Resource

Photographer Philippa James has collaborated with the charity Refugee Resource to create a thought-provoking series of portraits of refugee women. The images explore themes of trauma, the inner and outer self, and expectations from society. The exhibition celebrates the new family that these women have made from meeting each other.

Exhibition is open 17th June-17th July.

Venue: Old Fire Station

Details here.

16th June, TBC – Stand with Refugees at Gloucester Green Market | Asylum Welcome

Asylum Welcome will be raising awareness and funds to support refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford. As well as a collection of donated books and handmade crafts, we are inviting the public to add their message to our orange heart, showing their support to Oxford’s refugee community.

16th June, 4pm-6pm - Walk with Amal - a Collage Workshop with Rana Ibrahim

by Goldsmiths STAR.
Rana Ibrahim will be delivering an artistic workshop as part of her involvement in the Little Amal project – The Walk.

Little Amal is the giant puppet at the heart of The Walk, travelling 8,000km in support of refugees. In 2021, the 3.5-metre-tall living artwork of a young Syrian refugee child will walk from July to November 2021 across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees.

Building on this project, Rana will lead participants through a collage workshop to create their own paper puppets. Participants will be asked to think about what they would want to keep them safe and grounded when journeying a long way from home, using craft to equip their puppets with various objects and qualities. The final creations will then be photographed and shared with Rana, as she builds her Little Amal gallery on her website. Participants will also have access to an Arabic phrase tracing template created by Rana prior to the workshop, so they can practice writing the characters and later include them in their collages.

To register please click here.

16th June, 6pm - We Cannot Walk Alone - Music Evening | Sanctuary Hosting

What better a way to celebrate togetherness than coming together to share music and what it means to us! During the music evening, we will be able to talk about music, what music means to us and our cultures, share songs, dances or anything creative, and create connections through our love of music.
Watch here.

17th June, 5:30pm - Oxford’s Colleges of Sanctuary Annual Event 2021: ‘Voices for Sanctuary: We Cannot Walk Alone’
Reverend Inderjit Bhogal, founder of the Cities of Sanctuary Movement UK and Afraa Hashem, of Action for Sama. Introduced by Helen Mountfield QC, Principal of Mansfield College and Baroness Jan Royall, Principal of Somerville College.
Details here and to RSVP here

17th June, 6pm – ‘Worth' - Book Presentation + Q&A | Sanctuary Hosting

Join us to hear from Bharti Dhir as she shares a couple of excerpts from her book and hosts a Q&A at the end. Read more at: https://www.hayhouse.co.uk/worth-pb

Watch here


18th June – Oxford Walks Together | Asylum Welcome

 A guided walk through the contemporary experience of a refugee arriving in Oxford, and the challenges they face. We will visit spaces used and created by asylum seekers and refugees, exploring how our community can come together to welcome and support those arriving here.
Details: Given current government restrictions, this event is by invitation only.

19th June, 9am-2pm – Stand with Refugees at Headington Market | Asylum Welcome

Asylum Welcome will be raising awareness and funds to support refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford. As well as a collection of donated books and handmade crafts, we are inviting the public to add their message to our orange heart, showing their support to Oxford’s refugee community.

Oxford has a heart – and it’s orange

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The UK government seeks to undermine the rights of those fleeing persecution and war. We believe the New Plan for Immigration is driven more by a desire to protect our borders than by our responsibility to offer protection to those genuinely fearing persecution. It is deeply flawed, inhumane and is unlikely to achieve many of its desired aims.

We want to show refugees and asylum seekers that they aren’t alone - we are fighting with them. We’re asking Oxfordshire to show that we oppose the government’s unfair plans and stand in solidarity with refugees.

To do this, we are using the symbol of the orange heart. We want to create a welcoming community by showing the hearts in our front windows, across social media and in public places. We will come together to tell asylum seekers and refugees who live amongst us that, despite the negative voices they hear in the debate over the Plan, there are many in Oxfordshire who welcome asylum seekers.

Please join us and share a photo of yourself with your heart on social media @AsylumWelcome to show the UK government #WhoWeAre

What is the orange heart?

On 10th May, a new national coalition of refugee charities is being launched called Together with Refugees.  Asylum Welcome is part of this coalition. The coalition’s symbol is an orange heart, the colour of the refugee flag, and it is designed to become a unifying visual symbol that all can stand behind to express their solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees.

You can watch this short video to learn a bit more about it by clicking here.

Ashia escaped fighting in her own country to seek safety in the UK and now lives in Oxford. “I had a beautiful life. I did not want to leave. We had no choice to leave and find safety. Our hearts are broken. We will get shot if we go home. We are grateful that the door was opened for us. Why are they shutting it now? My family are doctors here and have been helping to fight Covid. We support and do all we can to give back.” 

We want to show that Oxfordshire welcomes refugees like Ashia, and to help to reframe the argument that there is a public mandate for immigration reform that welcomes asylum seekers rather than provides a hostile environment.

For more information on the New Plan For Immigration, and how to write to your MP, see our resources.

For information about Refugee Week 2021 please click here.