Thanks Paul…fundraising run

All of the staff, volunteers and clients at Asylum Link Merseyside would like to say a huge thank you and a big well done to Paul Chadwick for completing his sponsored run for ALM in the recent BTR Liverpool Tunnel 10K.

just giving run

Paul’s time was 53 minutes 15 seconds,
position was 911 out of 3000+ runners

The latest total of sponsorship raised up to yesterday was £336.25
[ including £245 online, £35 offline, and £56.25 gift aid].

Visit Paul’s just giving page here 

If you have time to give or an idea for a sponsored event and would like to raise money for ALM through just giving you can use this link to visit our page

ALM’s Just giving page

by clicking on the orange button you can set up your own sponsorship page, you can be as creative as you want to. Every penny raised goes towards the vital work of our centre supporting asylum seekers and refugees Living in Merseyside

Sarah

 

 

 

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Destitution Conference

Hello Each – today was one of those odd ones, where you realise that the twilight zone isn’t something you just see on the telly, but something we can actually inhabit.

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This morning a conference took place in Liverpool, exploring the issues around asylum and destitution and looking for a few ideas for a way forward. The Home office were there, having been invited, and sent 8 staff. We had a fairly big presence, some of our guys with status, some still in the system and one refused and destitute. I can only imagine their thoughts when they saw the Home Office, suited and booted – it would have been enough to make you take flight.

However, they stayed calm and got on with it. Sylla, a speaker at the conference, decided he wanted to tell it like it is and poured out his feelings, his pain and his hope, not for himself, but for others.

People bring pens, blue tack, leaflets and posters to these events. Now we are going to have to include hankies. His words were so powerful that many of the people in the room were crying, men and women. I watched Kiran talking with the home office people over lunch and how engaged and interested they were and I thought, is the first time someone from the Home Office has ever sat down to eat with an Asylum Seeker.

I was so proud of our volunteers today. They held themselves with such dignity and purpose it was incredible to watch. Sylla, Moazzam, Kiran and Jamshaid; telling people about their lives, being ambassadors for their brothers and sisters, putting aside their fears, taking big risks not for their own benefit, but for others unknown.

Today was a good day. Cheers Ewan

Lunch with a side of friendship, feeding Liverpool’s destitute Asylum seekers

This government’s policy of making asylum seekers destitute works on the assumption that by forcing people into extreme poverty they will choose to return to countries from which they have fled in fear of their lives. However, as we have seen through our work with destitute asylum seekers in Liverpool, this assumption is misguided. 98% of failed asylum seekers choose to stay in Britain ,surviving on handouts and sleeping on friend’s floors. Over the past 3 years we have come into contact with over 400 destitute asylum seekers, of which only 8 have chosen to return home voluntarily.

People can be left destitute for years. Most can’t go home, but can’t move forward. Whist they are trapped in limbo their mental health quickly deteriorates , as all hope of a future is lost.

So we offer people friendship and food, not just to our destitute friends but to all those who visit our center. This means that on the 4 days a week which we are open we feed at least 100 people each day. We serve porridge for breakfast, a healthy lunch and tea and coffee.

It is hard work preparing vast amounts of food on a very small budget, But we don’t want to ever have to charge for this service so we rely on a team of volunteers to help us, Kiran has volunteered working with us for 2 years, this is what she has to say about her time in the kitchen…

“Asylum Link has helped to give me back my confidence. Before I came here I couldn’t even go into a shop to buy food for my daughter. When I’m on my own I tend to think too much about what’s happened in my life, which is why Asylum Link is a great place to come to. They have helped me learn how to enjoy my life again and encouraged me to study to improve my English.

serving food

“I volunteer here and help make meals in the kitchen for between 70 and 100 people as part of the Home & Away project. Different people have different problems. You listen and you share people’s sadness. I feel it a lot.

If I am granted asylum I would love to get a job. It would be great for me and help offer a better future for my daughter. She loves school so much and I am very proud of her. She has become an expert at computers in just six months. It makes me cry with happiness for her because my daughter is my life. At last I am happy..”

 

 

 

Why write about Destitution?

Hi everyone,

Welcome to our new blog! You may be wondering why we wanted to write about a topic like destitution and how this could possibly be relevant to anyone living in the UK.

I mean, no one in the UK can be truly destitute, can they? Not in the UK? Everyone can work, or claim benefits or at least sell the Big Issue. Can’t they?

There are so many myths around destitution. The biggest being that it doesn’t exist; not here in beautiful Britain. But sadly it does, right on our doorstep, in our neighbourhood. Another is that people have somehow chosen to live this life of constant uncertainty and hunger, of never knowing where they will sleep tonight, of being vulnerable to others who might take advantage of their situation, in order to claim UK benefits.

The truth is nobody chooses this.

In reality, the choice is between the misery of freezing and starving on the streets of Liverpool, or being tortured and killed in prison, sold into a forced marriage, subjected to an honor killing or left in the hands of some merciless paramilitary . This is not actually a choice and its certainly not a choice I hope myself or my family and friends would have to make.

And thats the thing, these people, the people who we hope you will meet through this blog are human beings just the same as you, just the same as me. Before their journeys brought them here to our small corner of the world, before the system labelled them as “destitute”, as a “failed asylum seeker”. They lived in homes with loving families, most had jobs or studied at universities, they all had hopes and dreams for their future and the future of their children.

Through this blog we hope to explain a little more about what destitution is and why it happens. We hope that you will meet some of our friends and listen as they share about what their day to day lives are like.

Thanks for joining us,

Sarah and Sarah