Mark drops in to Refugee sessions

(November 09, 2017)

Mark dropped in to a session for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, run by the British Red Cross at St Cuthbert’s Church in Fulwood on 9th November 2017.

Mark was invited speak to staff and volunteers from the British Red Cross as well as group members who talked about their experiences and to see what services are on offer from the charity.

British Red Cross

The weekly drop in sessions have a wide range of service providers on hand to offer practical support and assistance to refugees and asylum speakers.  Multi – agency representatives from the health services, including mental health services, housing advisory services at Preston City Council, social services, leisure facilities, faith organisations as well as translators and case workers are able to provide rapid and appropriate assistance.  Food and clothing is also made available at the sessions.

Some of the countries that the refugees and asylum seekers originate from include Eritrea, the Gambia, Sudan and Syria and include individuals as well as families with children who have now made their home in Preston.

The British Red Cross charity supports vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the UK including young refugees. They provide practical assistance and emotional support as well as advice and assistance with accessing services. The charity has been operating in Preston for around three years and currently deals with approximately forty cases a week.

Mark said: ‘I have seen and continue to see many individual asylum seekers and refugees during my advice surgeries when they come to me for assistance on a whole range of issues.  I was keen to see the support networks that are available to people in Preston who have newly arrived from countries where they were facing persecution.  I had an opportunity to speak people about the circumstances that led to them to finding a new home in Preston, how they’re adapting to life in the UK and what plans and aspirations they have for the future.’

It’s also encouraging to see that some of the service users go on to volunteer as translators and case workers for the British Red Cross to give something back to the charity that helped them when they first arrived in the country as a refugee.’

Rob Arnold, from the charity said: “British Red Cross were delighted to welcome Mark Hendrick MP to our refugee and asylum seeker drop in session at St Cuthbert’s Church Centre in Fulwood last week. The drop in is a fantastic example of partnership work involving a number of local and national organisations as well as Preston City Council coming together to support people in crisis.

The drop in provides a hot meal, a social space, casework support, access to English language courses and other activities as well as a comprehensive information and signposting service to over 70 refugees and asylum seekers each week. It is a vital cog in our efforts to make Preston a welcoming place to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Preston is one of forty ‘Cities of Sanctuary’ in the UK which actively seeks to provide a place of sanctuary for those who have been displaced from other countries especially fleeing war and persecution.

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