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


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

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: http://pressgangleeds.blogspot.co.uk/

10k run in the heat

Before the 10k runPlenty of smiles before the race

Thanks to David, Helen and Jennie from Chapel Allerton Methodist church for running 10k on one of the hottest days of the year. Temperatures were already hitting 24 degrees at the 9.30 start this Sunday morning.

The three were raising money for charities including LASSN.

After 10k

Still looking cool after 10k Run

Why I support LASSN

Last week, I realised that the woman in front of me in a supermarket queue was a client we’d supported when I worked at LASSN between 2005-7. At that time, she was classed as a ‘failed asylum seeker’, fearful of detention or separation from her children. I remember that, although she tried to be cheerful, you could always see the anxiety in her eyes. I knew that she’d had a successful appeal and gained refugee status after I’d left LASSN. Anyway, we chatted as the queue moved forwards, and I was amazed at how she’d changed in the intervening years. Relaxed and confident, she told me about the new job she’d just started and how well her children are doing at college and university.

LASSN are far too modest to claim full credit for this happy outcome, and of course the whole story is a more complicated picture of legal and other support for asylum seekers. But LASSN’s incredible team of staff and volunteers stand alongside people who are isolated, distressed and far from home, and help them find the resources to keep going. The impact of LASSN’s work is that now a young family who went through a very difficult time are now settled and doing well, and two young adults are now reaching their full potential.

So that’s why I’m doing this sponsored walk: quite simply I want to do my bit to help LASSN’s 250+ fantastic volunteers who give hope and encouragement to the asylum seekers/ refugees they support. Providing emergency accommodation, English tuition or befriending support might seem to be ‘just’ helping people keep going from day to day, but the benefits can last a lifetime. Many of LASSN’s clients are parents with young children, who deserve a settled home. So please sponsor us if you can!


Debut novel – by LASSN volunteer which raises awareness of human trafficking and also the caste system in India

Scar Tissue – a debut novel by David Skivington (LASSN volunteer)

While the story of Scar Tissue is purely fictional, the issues of human trafficking and/or caste inequality raised are all too real.

In a single phone call, Rachel’s entire life unravels. Transported to a dingy basement in Kolkata to identify the body of her murdered husband she has no explanation for his presence in India. As she searches for answers about who the man she married really was she finds his death surrounded by allegations of drug smuggling, child trafficking and murder. Unsure of what is true and who she can trust, Rachel has no idea of the danger her husband’s hidden life has put her in.

Using the link above means that LASSN will receive at least 5% donation from Amazon.