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The latest news from Asylum Welcome.

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

Stay at home: guidance on social distancing, for vulnerable people and for households with possible COVID-19 infection

Monday, March 23, 2020

This guidance is for everyone, including children. It advises on social distancing measures we should all be taking to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers.

Please click the links below to read the UK Government’s guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK, including children, and protecting older people and vulnerable people.

For English click here

For Arabic click here

For French click here

For Polish click here

For Chinese-Mandarin click here

Please click the links below to read the UK Government’s stay at home: guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

For English click here

For Arabic click here

For French click here

For Polish click here

For Chinese-Mandarin click here

Service closures at Asylum Welcome due to COVID-19

Monday, March 23, 2020

In the light of government advice on reducing the spread of Coronavirus, Asylum Welcome will be reducing its services substantially, with immediate effect.

We are taking these steps because we are very mindful of the need to ensure the safety of our volunteer community, as many are of an age that they need to take care not to catch the virus. We feel a responsibility to protect those most at risk, and a responsibility not to put undue pressure on the remaining diminished workforce.

We have a carefully developed plan to see Asylum Welcome through the next month or two, and we will review this and issue updates as needed. At the heart of this plan are commitments to maintaining firstly the most essential services for the most vulnerable clients and secondly robust channels of communication with clients, volunteers and other service providers.

Updates will appear on our website. We want to give clear messages about service changes. We want volunteers to keep talking to and supporting each other and to us. We want clients to understand that they are not abandoned. This situation is temporary and our sincere wish is that the Asylum Welcome community emerges stronger than ever.

Services available for the next few months

For asylum seekers and refugees

Among the many hundreds of people accessing our services every year, we assess that there are currently approximately 35-40 individuals who would suffer severe detriment if we closed temporarily and who cannot easily be supported elsewhere.

A much-reduced core team of staff and volunteers will ensure that advice appointments and hardship payments will continue for this group on Tuesdays and Fridays and food parcels will be available to them between 11 and 1 on Tuesdays.

Advice and assistance will be concentrated on the following topics: addressing homelessness and destitution, making Asylum Support applications, responding to urgent health needs, and brokering urgent communication with the Home Office.

We know that new people with urgent needs will continue to arrive in Oxford. If you are aware of new arrivals who are unsupported then get in touch with us.

The reception desk will be closed but you can leave an ansaphone message on 01865 722082.

Staff remain available by email and work mobiles throughout the week and you can also reach our services through the general email.

NB you will no longer be able to just ask clients to turn up at our centre.

For EU citizens

Face-to-face appointments to help EU citizens to apply for Settled Status are postponed. Advice is still available by email

and mobile phone: 07719 128054

There are approximately 100 people who we have helped to start the process of applying but have not yet received status, we will be contacting the Home Office about these cases.

Some EU citizens have given us passports and important documents to forward to the Home Office. Rest assured that our priority is to ensure that these are safe.

The following services will close temporarily

The Welcome Centre/drop-in advice and support

Venda youth club

Shared Talents - Education and Employment advice and ESOL lessons (although teachers may keep in touch with students by phone)

Huntercombe visiting

Recycled bicycles

Non-urgent advice appointments for adults, families and young people

Use of the Welcome Centre out-of-hours by refugee community organisations

Meetings and events are cancelled.

Bike, food and financial donations

We will not accept bike donations in the next few months.

Food donations we will now accept only on Fridays. We have sufficient food-stocks to cope with a short-term reduction in donations and will keep you informed of needs as they change.

Supporters can continue to make financial donations online or by bank transfer.

These are the main points of our plan for the next month or two.

Thank you again for your support.

Service Co-ordinator Vacancies

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Asylum Welcome has vacancies for 4 part-time Service Co-ordinator roles. Details of how to apply are here.

Asylum Welcome is seeking capable and experienced colleagues for its busy Welcome Centre who can co-ordinate the activities of volunteer teams. We seek to fill 4 part-time roles, which could be combined into 2 full time posts depending on the interests and skills of candidates. Immediate start preferred.

These posts are:

Adult and Family Advice Service Co-ordinator

Asylum & Immigration Advice Service Co-ordinator

Shared Talents (Education and Employment) Advice Service Co-ordinator

School Advocacy Service Co-ordinator

Salaries: Between pro rata FTE £29,000 and £31,500 

Closing date: 4pm 1st April 2020

Interviews likely to be 6th, 7thand 8thApril

Apply by sending completed applications with APPLICATION in email subject line, to

application form

Equal opportunities form

JD Adult&Family

JD Asylum&Immigration

JD Shared Talents

JD School Advocacy

Asylum Welcome publishes testimonies of its detention visitors

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Refugee Week - Weaving Networks of Support, Thursday 20th June

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Asylum Welcome Fundraiser

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Statement on the Closure of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre

Monday, November 12, 2018

We welcome the announcement on 9th November 2018 that, influenced by the recommendations of Stephen Shaw’s reports, the government commits to reduce by 40% the number of people detained under immigration powers in the UK. We welcome the decision to close Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre in Oxfordshire. Reducing the number of detention centres and those detained within them is an important step towards a fairer asylum and immigration system in the U.K.

For almost 25 years, Asylum Welcome has seen first-hand the human impact of detention at Campsfield.

With this historic announcement we want to pay tribute to many people:

  • to people detained at Campsfield who have struggled to maintain their safety, dignity, health and family relationships
  • to local volunteers who have been part of the Asylum Welcome detainee support service and Campsfield visiting group and helped ensure that detainees have a daily visit and are able to communicate better with doctors, lawyers and their families
  • to the networks of individuals and professional bodies who support our work and support the welfare of detainees, including the long-standing Close Campsfield Campaign
  • and finally we pay tribute to those staff members at Campsfield who carried out their duties with respect and compassion.

Asylum Welcome will work with the remaining detainees until Campsfield closes in May 2019. Asylum Welcome’s other services for asylum seekers and refugees living in the community in Oxfordshire will continue into the future. In coming months we will be reviewing the implications for Asylum Welcome’s work so that we can put our energy and experience where it is most useful, pass on what we have learned to other visiting groups, and celebrate the legacy of our visitors. We will be consulting widely on the best direction for our organisation.

We urge members of the public to maintain an interest in the welfare of detainees who will continue to be held at removal centres elsewhere in the UK that are considered to run a more harsh regime than at Campsfield. Their safety relies on your concern.

Thank you for your support for the work of Asylum Welcome.

Join Asylum Welcome’s Board!

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

With demand for Asylum Welcome’s services increasing and our voice gaining prominence in national policy debates, we are seeking to appoint outstanding individuals to our Board, including the roles of Treasurer and Company Secretary.


Person Specification


Prospective Trustees will:

-       Be committed to the rights and welfare of refugees and to Asylum Welcome’s vision, mission and values.

-       Have demonstrable expertise and/or experience of a relevant field, particularly one of the following: finance and accounting; fundraising; HR and organisational development; administration and management; health and/or advice services to vulnerable people; lived experience of asylum determination processes, in the UK or elsewhere.

-       Be experienced more widely in the management of people and/or resources, for example by working in a management team.

-       Be able to contribute to and ensure Asylum Welcome’s financial sustainability and strategic development.


As an organisation committed to reflecting our diverse and vibrant Oxford community, we particularly welcome applications from people from black, minority ethnic and refugee backgrounds.


Get in touch…


Email your CV and a short (no more than 1 page) covering letter setting out why you want to join us and how you meet the person specification to Marcus Thompson, Chair of Trustees


Being a trustee


As a trustee you will:

-       Actively participate in meetings, offering guidance and support to ensure that Asylum Welcome continues to do the vital and life-saving work it was set up to do.

-       Scrutinise Asylum Welcome’s budgets, management accounts and financial statements, ensuring that they meet the organisation’s needs and the relevant regulatory requirements.

-       Ensure Asylum Welcome is complying with its governing documents and the relevant law, as well as updating, following and reviewing its own policies and procedures.

-       Act, with care and skill, in Asylum Welcome’s best interests.


For further information, click here.


The Board


Asylum Welcome is governed by a Board of 6-12 Trustees elected at the AGM. Trustees (who must be Members) normally serve for 3 years. Additional trustees may be co-opted.


The Board meets 6-8 times a year, currently early evening on a Wednesday. Regular dates are agreed a year in advance. Individual trustees also join or lead the Board’s Sub-Committees and working groups.

Short talk about Asylum Welcome by Kate Smart

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This is a short talk given by Kate Smart Director of Asylum Welcome at Weatley URC Church , January 2018.

Bishop Steven is the new patron of Asylum Welcome

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Asylum Welcome is delighted to announce that the Right Reverend Dr. Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, is to become the charity's patron. Bishop Steven has a deep interest in the welfare of refugees and is keen to support efforts to enable them to rebuild their lives. Asylum Welcome achieves that through a large network of compassionate and expert volunteers and through the support of people in all parts of community.