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 www.lassn.org.uk). 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.