Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

The project will engage Asylum Seekers both within the system and after refusal, to provide meaningful activities and ways to encourage contact and interaction with this group. This will be done through a range of projects: English language classes, maths class, film club, women's choir, Zumba dance, access to football and table tennis, bike repair and maintenance, allotment and cookery projects and to volunteering opportunities in Asylum Link's drop in centre. Underpinning all of this is the provision of a place where Asylum Seekers can feel safe and relaxed, something sadly lacking within our current system.

A key part of this is to engage with the local UK population at the same time, running joint programmes, which foster inclusion and integration. This project sets out to make people feel welcome and to be part of something. We are a gateway to other services and support mechanisms for Asylum Seekers so the impact has a much wider reach into the community.

For our size, we provide a huge range of services to around 3000 individuals per year. These can be split into 2 areas; Casework/destitution and Complex Needs, and the Well Being and Social Projects. We are seeking funding for the Well being activity; the management and running of the projects, the materials used and volunteer expenses delivering them.

For example, Football Sessions, with Liverpool County FA, Everton in the Community, the City of Liverpool FC, our Football Team, the Ullet Road Rebels, and also our Table Tennis Team. Other organisations provide venues and expertise, but we need kit, transportation, a place to meet and recruit people, volunteers to help with explanations and guidance and fees for membership of local leagues.

The cookery projects include not just the meals produced at the centre, 200 plates per day, but cooking demonstrations to other organisations, work on EU projects like the Healthnic Cooking for Inclusion programme, but also the training and H&S requirements for Environmental Health, putting people through their Food Hygiene Certificates. Even where food can be sourced for free, from Costco, Tesco or others, we still have to pick up and distribute the food, with expenses for transport and volunteers.

We are a gateway into the city and for many Refugees, this is their first taste of Liverpool. English language classes are one of the most popular services we provide. 26 volunteer teachers run 5 different classes, offering 8 hours/class of ESOL teaching each week.

Feras-Syria
"I think the English classes in Asylum Link are very helpful as a first step in learning a new language. I think that as all of the teachers are volunteers, they like what they are doing and their main reason is trying to help especially those who start Asylum Link with no English.
Asylum Link is absolutely fantastic for being useful and enjoyable at the same time. It is well- organised and managed well although not perfect but still the best. It is an amazing place to learn English as a second language and there are little details about this organisation like the professionalism of the teachers and the variety of the topics which are taught which makes it special."

One man who was housed, fed and supported for 7 years through to his leave to remain, said simply, Asylum Link is ‘everything for me’.

We often explain how we do things, but hardly ever, why we do them. Our society often treats many people appallingly, but a special place is reserved for Asylum Seekers, especially the refused. Isolated from family and friends, denied employment, kept in poverty, dislocated by language and culture, and with access restricted to healthcare and education, this group of people, many of whom suffered horribly in their home country, facing torture, rape, even genocide, are frequently treated with contempt. We want to redress this imbalance and help people become productive, useful and happy members of our community. That is why we are doing this.

Project Video

Asylum Link Merseyside

I am proud that people here feel part of something: family, team or crew. People need to belong and they need to feel useful. That is what we offer.

One Asylum seeker describing ALM says 'Singing is my life. Women Together(choir) meet every Thursday and we sing. For me, I call it a family'

Location: Liverpool