Adapted from an email by Duncan at Refugee Council
Over the past few weeks we have spoken with a number of partners about the growing number of people (mainly single men) who are being accommodated in hotels in Leeds whilst they wait for a decision on their asylum claim from the Home Office. Since the pandemic, the number of people in hotels has risen sharply and many people have been living in hotels for more than a year.
Refugee Council, along with some other local organisations and groups, have been able to gain access into these hotels and through our small team of staff and volunteers we are encountering a number of issues that I’m hoping people receiving this email (and others across your networks) might be able to help with.
I have summarised some of these issues below:
- Lack of essential clothing (warm clothes – jumpers, coats, hats, gloves) new underwear, shoes
- Lack of toiletries and other essentials such as bags
- Coordinating the clothing donations, including collecting, sorting and delivering the clothes to the 5 hotels
- Isolation and boredom – people in the hotels have nothing to do and are lacking interaction with local friendly people
- English language – people are interested in learning English via formal and informal methods
- Little or no money – people aren’t allowed to work, many people aren’t receiving £8 a week asylum support so have no money for basic things such as transport, haircuts and phone data
- Wellbeing – due to the above factors people’s mental health and general wellbeing is suffering
- Lack of understanding of their rights and entitlements in the UK and the asylum journey
We are inviting you to a meeting in order to gather people who are interested in responding to some of the issues mentioned above. The coordination of donations is one of the tasks in particular that from our perspective needs more organisation and volunteer support.
It has been heartening to know that there are many people in the city who want to try and do something to support people in this situation and I recognise that there is lots of good work already taking place. It therefore feels the right time to try and join up some of the offers of support and activities and have a more effective and coordinated citywide approach.
This (in-person) meeting will happen Friday 11th March 4:30 – 5:30 pm at The Refugee Council office, Hillside Enterprise Centre, Beeston Road, Leeds, LS11 8ND.
Places are limited, so please confirm your attendance with Duncan in advance.