LASSN projects

  • Grace Hosting Manager Katrina
  • English at Home Manager Catherine
  • Befriending Manager Pauline
  • One Planet Leeds Magazine
  • Directory of services for Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  • Leeds Press Gang

A brief history of LASSN

Click here to see the brief history of LASSN  – as previewed at our Annual General Meeting held on January 9th 2015

LASSN’s Annual General Meeting, Friday 9th January 2015

LASSN AGM Invitation

Grace Hosting Coordinators w/c Mon 26th January 2015

Mon 26th Jan: Katrina – 07927 808 372

Tues 27th Jan: Ellias 0113 2456081

Weds 28th Jan: Mel (until 3pm) – 07834632645

Thurs 29th Jan: Harriet – 07709446114

Fri 30th Jan: Katrina – 07927808372


To make a referral to Grace Hosting contact one of the referral agencies.

LASSN Annual Review 2013/14

Have a look at our Annual Review for 2013/14 or download a copy from here

LASSN Annual Review 2013/14

An Introduction to LASSN

If you’re here, you probably already know something about LASSN. But here’s a quick presentation (written for a presentation at Allerton Deanery Synod) that links what we do to the wider local, national and international context of people seeking refuge and asylum

Where do the people we work with come from?

Our Annual Report is due out in a month or so. Here’s an infographic about that didn’t quite make the final draft… Please note, the numbers represent households, not just individual people

LASSN Director’s blog post at

I’ve written a short blog at, describing what happened after the Daily Mail approached LASSN, asking if we’d like to place an advertisement on their website.

Be sure to leave a comment…


Face to Face Support and Advice for Asylum Seekers in Leeds

Following the closure of the Refugee Council office in Leeds, and the replacement online/phone support offered by Asylum Help, we have produced a simple guide to getting face to face support and advice in Leeds.

We have also added an additional page explaining what callers can expect when calling Asylum Help’s freephone number.

For more information about what’s happening in the Leeds Refugee and Asylum sector – go to the Leeds Multiagency website .

Please note – Legal Advice on Asylum Claims can only be provided by OISC approved bodies.

One World Leeds – Winter 2013 Edition


A slightly belated posting of One World Leeds Winter 2013 – produced by our Press Gang volunteers

  • Challenging negative perceptions of refugees
  • The new Immigration Bill – tip of the iceberg
  • An asylum seeker is shattered but steadfast
  • A journey into Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre
  • English at Home – a formula for integration
  • Inertia in Odyssey (a poem)
  • Sports and leisure

Be sure to find out more about Press Gang at their new home at oneworldleeds .org

Job vacancies in Leeds charities

UPDATE: Florence must stay


We are pleased to hear from our friends at Leeds No Borders that Florence has been released on bail from Yarl’s Wood.

Many thanks to everyone who has shown their support to Florence over the last couple of months. For more information on keep checking Leeds No Borders website

Isa Muaza is being held in custody despite being on a 90-day hunger strike

I have raised this issue personally with the Home Secretary, and have applied on three occasions for a chance to debate this in Parliament – unsuccessfully each time. I will keep trying.
Lord Roger Roberts, a Liberal Democrat peer, and I have launched an e-petition on the HM Government website urging Theresa May to intervene and release Mr. Muaza from detention. The e-petition is worded as follows:
We are distressed and saddened to hear that Isa Muaza’s appeal to be released from detention was refused by the Court of Appeal on 25 November 2013. 
Isa Muaza’s condition is critical. He has been on hunger strike in Harmondsworth Detention Centre for over 90 days, and is no longer able to see or stand. We are extremely concerned that Mr Muaza will soon die or suffer permanent damage to his health in detention or during a forced removal from the UK. 
We call on Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to exercise clemency, release him from detention to receive medical treatment to stabilise his condition prior to any removal, so that another death or serious harm in immigration detention or during the removal process may be avoided.
Please can you add your signature to the e-petition and pass it onto friends and family. It is imperative that as many people as possible sign the petition to raise the public profile of the case and raise the pressure on Theresa May to act before it is too late. The URL link is copied in below.

Demonstration against the Immigration Bill

Noon on Wednesday 18th December in Sheffield

Leeds Hardship Fund Appeal

Every winter the Hardship Fund provides much needed support to destitute asylum seekers in Leeds.  The capacity of its supporters to donate funds has been seriously reduced due to financial constraints.  Whereas the need for the fund is as great as ever.  For further information and how donate:


petition calling for those fleeing the practice of FGM are provided with refugee protection in the UK

Please find below a petition calling on the Home Secretary to ensure that those fleeing the practice of FGM in their home countries are provided with sufficient refugee protection in the UK. 
The UK courts have stated that if a woman is at risk from female genital mutilation in one part of her country and it would not be reasonable for her to live in another part of her country, the UK should allow her to live here as a refugee. However, the UKBA is regularly refusing protection to women and girls fleeing FGM by claiming that they are able to live safely in another part of their home country. For many women and girls, this is just not possible.
Two weeks ago, Sue Lloyd Robert’s Newsnight program on FGM ( was re-aired on the BBC. Following the story of a Gambian asylum seeker who is fleeing FGM for herself and her daughter, Lloyd Roberts travels to The Gambia to investigate the validity of the Home Office’s claim that she would be able to live safely in another part of the country. When visiting the asylum seeker’s relatives, it was evident that she would not be safe in another part of the country; internal relocation would not protect this woman and her child from FGM.
This petition calls on the Home Secretary to ensure that women and girls fleeing FGM are provided with sufficient refugee protection in the UK. 
For more information about this campaign, see Sarian Kamara’s blog at British Future ( and this piece on the STAR National website (
Lorna Gledhill
Regional Asylum Activism Co-ordinator for Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Asylum Activism Project

Leeds Refugee Forum Trustee Vacancies

Would you like to help plan and manage the future of Leeds Refugee Forum?

Leeds Refugee Forum (LRF) is looking for people to join their group of Trustees. You don’t need any previous experience of being a trustee, but you must have leave to remain in the UK.

Can you do the following? · Be committed to supporting the development of LRF. · Help discuss and develop LRF plans for the future. · Work with others as part of a diverse team including LRF staff, volunteers and trustees, and Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network staff and trustees. · Attend 6 to 8 LRF Trustee meetings per year.

LRF can offer you: · The opportunity to contribute to the development of LRF as a successful organisation supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds · Training and support. · Plenty of experience which will be useful in work and community life.

If you want to find out more, please get in touch on: 07979 192991


After 6½ years I have reached my final day as LASSN director. I have immensely enjoyed my time here and still think LASSN is a brilliant organisation, doing brilliant work with brilliant people.

Thank you to all LASSN staff, trustees and volunteers for making the organisation such a special place to work.

I hope I’ll still see the many of the friends I have made and I also expect to work alongside many of you as I continue to be involved in trying to make the UK a more welcoming and fair place for asylum seekers and refugees.

LASSN has had a tough year, especially financially. I think the current environment is tough for all charities and it is testament to the importance of LASSN’s work that we have secured significant funding for the next few years. That doesn’t mean you can stop donating! It’s thanks to the hundreds of supporters that LASSN survives.

I am pleased that LASSN has appointed a new director, Jon Beech who will join the team sometime in December. I wish Jon and the whole LASSN team every success in the future and look forward to seeing how LASSN develops and grows as it responds to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds.

With gratitude and thanks,

Peter Richardson

New Volunteers – recruiting now for 2014

We are always looking for new volunteers to join our Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting and Press Gang projects.  The Befriending project is in particular need of mature men to support older male refugees.  English at Home consists mostly of female volunteers who support female refugees.

Peter Richardson, LASSN Director is moving on

I will be finishing as Director of LASSN at the end of October after almost seven years. I feel privileged to have worked alongside such a brilliant group of staff, volunteers and trustees and honoured to have been involved in such important work that benefits so many asylum seekers and refugees. LASSN is looking for a new director and I’d thoroughly recommend the position (see Please do tell people about the vacancy (closing date 8 October).

It’s been great to work with so many amazing people from other organisations who share my passion for making the world a better place for those fleeing persecution.

I’ve been impressed by how many people give up their personal time (and money!) to support asylum seekers and refugees and I’ve been touched by the amount of care and understanding shown.

I’ve also be astonished by the journeys and experiences of asylum seekers and refugees themselves. I’ve met some of the most resourceful, intelligent, forgiving, resilient, and interesting people in the world.

It’s not all been good – I’ve also been angry about how asylum seekers are often misrepresented and villainised, how they are made the scapegoats for many of the troubles in this country and how they are made to feel unwanted and worthless. I’d especially pick out politicians who appear scared of the immigration issue and are unprepared to stand up for what is right for fear of it affecting their election. Also I’ve been annoyed when the media pander to prejudice, misinform and misrepresent in order to sell a story.

On leaving LASSN I’m hoping to continue trying to change some of those things. I’m going to be working as a freelance writer, which will include writing about asylum seekers and refugees. I’ll also be writing fiction for adults and children. I’m hoping to work with exiled journalists to counter the negative portrayal of asylum seekers and will continue to be involved with LASSN’s Press Gang.

Hopefully you’ll still see me around and if you have a story to tell I’d be interested to hear it. I’d also love to hear any tips, advice, contacts or opportunities that you think will help me in the future.

Thanks to everyone who has made my time at LASSN some of the most pleasurable and important years of my life.

With appreciation and best wishes,

Peter Richardson, LASSN Director and aspiring writer.

LASSN’s Director expects to be intimidated

Yesterday I visited Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre. I’d expected to be intimidated by high walls, barbed wire and a security check that is more onerous than when visiting a prison. These aspects of Yarl’s Wood were safely hidden behind the friendly front face of the building and polite and efficient attitude of staff to me as a visitor.

 What I had forgotten about was the impact of meeting people living in such devastating captivity.

Read about my visit here: