Refugee & Asylum Support

Bristol is home to many refugees and asylum seekers. They have been forced from their homes, traumatised on their journeys, and are then treated as criminals. We are commanded to welcome the stranger, but rarely manage this.

The challenge

Refugees and asylum seekers face many areas of challenge, including:

  • Legal issues - asylum seekers find themselves caught up in a legal system they do not understand; applications for asylum require significant legal input, as do appeals against Home Office decisions.

  • Practical issues -such as housing, transport and language learning.

  • Trauma -almost everyone who turns up as an asylum seeker will be traumatised to some extent.

  • Social needs - asylum seekers, like all people, need a range of human contact: if possible, contact with people from their own culture and language provides a degree of stability and rootedness; contact with other asylum seekers provides shared experience and support; and contact with people from the wider community helps with integration and building a new life.

The response

  • Borderlands works with refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK,  also supporting people who have been trafficked and trapped in domestic service or the sex industry.

  • Bristol City of Sanctuary is part of the national City of Sanctuary network, linking people and groups who believe that sanctuary seekers should be welcomed, and that their contribution to society should be celebrated.

  • Bristol Hospitality Network provides full board accommodation in host households or in its large house for men in Bristol and offer community volunteering opportunities and cottage enterprise to male and female asylum seekers experiencing destitution. Download their leaflet here.

  • Bristol Refugee Rights provides a place of welcome in Bristol where asylum seekers and refugees can meet and be supported to play a full part in the life of the wider community; and also campaign for the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

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