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The latest news from Asylum Welcome.

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

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.

Shaw Report: less detention & more safeguards needed, Asylum Welcome testimony cited

Sunday, January 24, 2016

In 2015, following evidence and criticisms from a range of organisations and individuals including under-cover film from detention centres, the Home Secretary commissioned Stephen Shaw (former Prisons Ombudsman) to carry out a review into the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons. The Shaw Report was published in January 2016. Testimony from Asylum Welcome is cited the report. The report concludes:

“I my view, a smaller, more focused, strategically planned immigration detention estate, subject to the many reforms I have outlined in this report, would both be more protective of the welfare of vulnerable people and deliver better value for the taxpayer. Immigration detention has increased, is increasing, and – whether by better screening, more effective reviews, or formal time limit – it ought to be reduced."

You can read the full report (which includes an executive summary)

and Asylum Welcome’s submission

Submission to Vulnerable Detainee Review:Asylum Welcome May 2015

Crisis Appeal for Funds

Monday, October 26, 2015

Asylum Welcome’s annual fundraising appeal has a special urgency this year. Asylum Welcome is playing a vital part in the local response to the growing international refugee crisis. Our services are getting busier, with more new arrivals and more complex needs. We are also advising the local authorities on preparations to accept resettled Syrians. All of this is only possible through the dedicated support of over 120 volunteers, who also continue to run advice sessions, provide English lessons, food parcels, detention visits, a youth club and more.

Asylum Welcome relies heavily on local donations and is asking local people to support its appeal this winter.

At this time of year, as the nights grow colder and darker, refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom are desperately poor and hungry, sometimes destitute and homeless, need the help Asylum Welcome provides more than ever.

Please read our appeal letter.

donation reply slip

Thank you.

Asylum Welcome's response to the Immigration Bill 2015

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Immigration Bill will be debated in parliament on 13th October. If implemented, it will have far-reaching impact on asylum seekers, refugees and detainees, and on local communities and local authorities.

In particular we are concerned about:

  • Changes to the right of appeal
  • Changes to asylum support, especially those changes affecting detainees and those affecting families with children
  • New rules for landlords
  • The lack of a time limit on detention

Please read our briefing paper on the Immigration Bill 2015 and response to the consultation on asylum support.

Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett visits Asylum Welcome

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

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.”

Immigration Announcements August 2015

Sunday, August 16, 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 on their website.
  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.

Thank you

Jean's annual cake sale

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Love baking? Join Jean's bake sale in Summertown on July 18

The cake sale will take place on Saturday, July 18 from 10am until noon at Summertown United Reformed Church, 294A Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7HN.

All proceeds go to Asylum Welcome.

If you are able to contribute please contact Judy: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We would ask you to bring the cakes to the Asylum Welcome office on Friday, July 17 before 3pm.

Alexander Betts runs Marathon in 2:45, raising £2.500 for Asylum Welcome

Thursday, April 23, 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".

The online justgiving page is still open, or you can also support our work on our permanent online donation page.