This week in the UK: Bikes, food parcels and kindness
People around the UK are mobilising to help the vulnerable in their communities, including refugees and asylum seekers.
Each week we will be highlighting just some of those who have organised themselves and their neighbours to make sure others are supported and don’t feel like they have been forgotten. (Find last week's highlights here.) Refugees and asylum seekers are often part of the vulnerable group in a community. In our weekly update we want to say thank you to the organisations and individuals who are working so hard to show that we are in this together.
At the national level this week has seen some remarkable progress and solidarity in the UK. The Nightingale Hospital opens today thanks to the relentless work of so many. In appreciation of this hard work and so much more, the country came together yesterday to clap for NHS workers, carers and the other key workers who are making sure the UK can continue fighting the pandemic and keep protecting people.
Spotlight: Finding new ways to deliver for the community
Bearwood Action for Refugees host community lunches for refugees and asylum seekers. Current restrictions mean these meals are on hold. But the volunteers have not stopped. They are taking the meals to the families, by delivering parcels straight to people’s doors - whilst adhering to strict social distancing practices.
“I found BAFR as a place of comfort for me and my four kids, we do come for lunch every last Saturday of the month... With the food delivery I was able to put food on table for my kids, now we do not lack anything.”
Spotlight: Syrian refugees helping the Dorset community who welcomed them
This week there were two entries that were worthy of being in the spotlight. This community action in Dorset is an amazing story of people pulling together and giving back to the people who welcomed them.
“My family and I took refuge in this beautiful country. That is why I want to offer my services to help the community. I can help to deliver food and other essentials to vulnerable residents in my area. I strongly believe in the responsibility of citizens to help each other in crises.” —Walid, Syrian refugee
Delivering bikes to refugees and key workers
Bikes offer refugees and asylum seekers freedom, as they provide a way of moving around a city when public transport costs are prohibitive. This means that they can open up opportunities for work, volunteering and to get to know and contribute to the new community.
More than ever, a bike can still be an essential way to reach the services people rely on while staying off public transport.
This is why these organisations are going the extra mile to make sure that they can continue delivering bikes to the people who will benefit from them the most – all the while, making sure they put no one at risk.
The Bike Project continue to deliver bikes to refugees and have moved their Dr Bike sessions online. These one–to–one sessions teach people basic bike maintenance and repair, and are free to all NHS staff.
They have launched an emergency appeal to make sure they can continue getting bikes to those who need them.
Teamwork across two cities
Bikes for Refugees and Bridge8Hub have joined forces to help the people in the community who need their help the most. In Edinburgh, they are loaning bikes to NHS workers, while in Glasgow they are delivering food packs and cooked meals to isolated refugee families.
Friendship and support continues by phone
In Merseyside, the Asylum Link Centre has taken into account current restrictions on movements and quickly adapted. Volunteers are creating care packages and delivering food to people who are self-isolating. They are also maintaining their essential support for refugees and asylum seekers by moving their casework support to a telephone service.
The service can be reached at 0151 709 1713 between 10am and 3pm. See their website for a comprehensive list of help and advice available to the vulnerable in Liverpool: https://www.asylumlink.org.uk.
Cooking in Glasgow? Cafes and restaurants asked to donate hot meals
Glasgow Night Shelter, a shelter for destitute asylum seekers, is appealing to the city’s restaurants and cafes to deliver socially distanced meals to refugees and asylum seekers.
Can you donate, or know someone who can? Find out more on their website.
Refugee Welcome Wanstead
Refugee Welcome Wanstead are a community group based in and around Wanstead, who are raising the money needed to resettle a Syrian refugee family under the Community Sponsorship scheme.
They haven’t stopped fundraising. Right now, they have a week left to meet the £5,000 target that means they can welcome a refugee family to the area. Learn more and visit their crowdfunder to donate.