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About Jon Beech

I joined LASSN as the Director in December 2013. I've a particular interest in mental health, ethnicity, and helping people make sense of their world and their community.

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Friends of LASSN Newsletter, Winter 2019

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2019-12-08T15:43:21+00:008th December, 2019|Categories: Uncategorised|

The Winter 2019 Edition of Friends of LASSN is out, with the usual mix of good news stories, organisational developments, policy briefings and photos. Click on this link, or the image below to get started


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2020-01-09T17:44:38+00:003rd December, 2019|Categories: Volunteering|

What? LASSN is holding a party for everyone - refugees, volunteers, friends, allies, supporters, adults and children When? Thursday January 16th 2020, from 18:00 til late Where? The Holbeck Working Men's Club, Jenkinson Lawn, Leeds LS11 9QX  What else do I need to know? Booking is essential There will be food, and drinks, and music. Food will be served from 18:30 and when it's gone, it's gone. It will be family friendly, so bring everyone along It's a "pay as you feel, free is fine" event.  The venue is up a flight of stairs, although there is a chair lift If you or someone you know is struggling with transport, please text 07845298047 with "I need transport" at least 24 hours before the event 

LASSN’s Annual General Meeting and Celebration: 3rd October 2019

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2019-09-17T08:55:03+01:0017th September, 2019|Categories: Headline posts|

This year our AGM is a strictly ticketed event, and will be held from 6pm - 8pm  on 3rd October 2019 at Sinai Synaogue, Roman Avenue, Leeds LS8 2AN. [Link to Google map]. Please see the Agenda and Papers below The AGM will be a bit more "business" oriented this year - and less of a party - because we are holding a big party in November to celebrate LASSN's 20th anniversary. Please note: you will not be able the AGM this year unless you have confirmed that you are coming in advance. The Synagogue have requested we do this as a security measure, following concerns around recent increases in religiously motivated hate crimes.   If you're a LASSN Member and would like to attend, please click here

LASSN are moving to new offices on 2nd August 2019

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2019-07-12T11:30:13+01:0012th July, 2019|Categories: Headline posts, Volunteering|

As of August 5th 2019 our new address will be Malmarc House, 116 Dewsbury Road, Leeds LS11 6XD We'll be shutting the office for a couple of days on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd, and then reopening on Monday August 5th. If you need to contact us urgently during this time, please email us or call our mobiles  Oak House is being sold by the Landlord who is ending all the tenancies of organisations based there. We really hoped we'd be there for at least another couple of years, but such is the life of a small org who rents cheapish property. We'll be sad to leave - but on the plus side our mates at City of Sanctuary and Asylum Matters are also moving with us. What is Malmarc House like? Grade 2 listed building Accessible ground floor offices Shared meeting and training spaces off the main lobby WiFi On a main Bus route in/out of town Loads of free parking nearby Malmarc House, on the corner of Hunslet Hall Road and Dewsbury Road Our bit is in the Old Library The entrance lobby is still in tact Will LASSN's telephone number stay the same? Yes. But it will defnitely be out of action on 1st and 2nd August 2019, so please use the mobiles. Parking/how do I get there? We don't have a dedicated car park space any more but the good news is there's loads of on street and free car parking nearby (marked in orange). I use a bus, or a bike The buses from town are every 5 minutes - Numbers 1/2/3 Ask to be dropped off at Hunslet Hall Road/Dewsbury Road. You can use this planner to plan your journey [link]. You can lock your bike in the secure courtyard at the rear of the building.  

Can you help LASSN live up to our vision and values – and join our board as a Trustee?

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2019-06-04T08:00:30+01:0011th April, 2019|Categories: Uncategorised|

LASSN is run by a small group of Trustees, who are there to make sure our work always reflects our vision and values, and is a well-run organisation. Some of our Trustees have experiencing of volunteering with LASSN, and some do not. Some have experience of seeking asylum or forced migration, and some do not. Some have been Trustees before and for some people it's all new. What matters most is that our Trustees reflects the interests and concerns of people involved with LASSN, and that our Trustees have the knowledge and experience to help guide and support our work. With their support we are able to achieve huge amounts - as detailed in our Annual Report and Accounts, and Annual Review.  Every year or so, our Trustees review the knowledge and experience of existing Trustees and work out where we might have gaps, or areas we want to strengthen. The last time Trustees did this (in March 2019) they decided LASSN should prioritise getting more Trustees who are people with experience of seeking refuge in the UK women (our Chair and our Deputy Chair are both women, but we want to recruit more) people with financial or accounting skills (our existing Treasurer is due to step down in Spring 2019) people who have experience of working in refugee or asylum focused projects Like all volunteer roles at LASSN we provide a comprehensive induction and ongoing support, and out of pocket expenses. If you are interested in finding out more about the role, please get in touch with [email protected] or call 0113 373 1759 If you are not an existing volunteer with LASSN, we also ask that you complete an online volunteer application form. When you do - someone will be in touch very soon to talk about next steps. Here's a description of the role - what's involved, and what kind of time commitment Trustees make Here's a description of the role of Treasurer If you are interested in finding out more about the role, please get in touch with [email protected] or call 0113 373 1759 If you are not an existing volunteer with LASSN, we also ask that you complete an online volunteer application form. When you do - someone will be in touch very soon to talk about next steps.

LASSN Volunteer training programme 2019

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2019-06-26T14:29:03+01:0021st December, 2018|Categories: Training|

Each year we produce a selection of training sessions, based on what volunteers have asked us for in our Annual Volunteer Survey We have 5 sessions planned for 2019. Please book yourselves on these courses. We extend our offer of training to anyone volunteering with refugees and asylum seekers, so if you fancy coming along, please email [email protected], telling us who you are, and where you volunteer and we’ll try and fit you in. An Introduction to LASSN and the Asylum Journey - Compulsory session for LASSN volunteers only Find our more about Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network – who we are, what we do, how we work. We’ll discuss the role of a volunteer and how volunteers are supported by LASSN. The Asylum Journey Whether you know nothing about the UK asylum system, or whether you’ve been through it yourself, this is a chance to look at the asylum journey. This session will explore some of the reasons that people come here seeking safety and the varied journeys they take to get to the UK. We’ll look at the process of claiming asylum and gaining refugee status in the UK. Many people who come here seeking safety face lots of barriers, uncertainty and a long wait. We’re not expecting you to become experts in immigration law(!) but we’ll give an overview of how the system is supposed to work, as well as some of the hardships it can cause. We’ll also help you understand some of the jargon and acronyms that might come up in conversation with your befriendee/learner/guest – who are G4S? Why do people go to Croyden? When can you make a fresh claim? We deliver these two sessions back to back, so you complete them both in about 4 hours. Please don’t worry if these sessions look long: we’ll always make sure there’s plenty of chance for a break, and plenty of food for dinner/tea to keep you going. Tuesday July 16th 2019, 16:30-20:30    Wednesday July 17th 2019, 10:00-14:00  Teaching English at Home Training - for LASSN volunteers only This is a compulsory session is for volunteers wanting to be English at Home tutors. The training will cover- • Barriers to learning • Creative ways to teach new vocabulary • Planning a series of lessons • Good resources • What learners want This session is very interactive and provides lots of practical advice as well as the opportunity to hear from a current learner and teacher about what makes a good lesson. Vegetarian lunch will be provided. Tuesday July 23rd 2019, 10:00-14:00 Befriending and Mentoring Network Support Sessions - for LASSN volunteers only An opportunity to share information and experiences. Come and meet other volunteers and support each other with challenges and celebrate successes. These events are open to all volunteers on both the Befriending and Connecting Opportunities projects. Thursday August 8th 2019, 14:00 - 15:30 Thursday November 7th 2019, 17:30 - 19:00 Helping people who get refugee status For volunteers who want to feel more [...]

A change to LASSN’s volunteering expenses policy

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2019-01-28T14:12:06+00:003rd December, 2018|Categories: Uncategorised|

Volunteers are essential to the work of LASSN, and we are committed to ensuring volunteers are able to claim back any out of pocket expenses they generate as part of their volunteering. In fact, LASSN gets grant funding specifically to meet these costs (and if volunteers don't claim their expenses, we have to give it back!) The last time we reviewed our Expenses policy was in 2011. At that time, Trustees capped the amount each volunteer could claim at £30 per month. In October 2018 Trustees reviewed this policy, and decided that from November 2018 LASSN will increase the amount volunteers can claim to £37 per month, per person, in line with cost of living increases. Trustees have also agreed to review this amount annually. We know that volunteering with LASSN is never about the expenses. But we also appreciate that as costs increase, so must the amount we are able to refund. If you prefer not to claim back your out of pocket expenses, we respect your decision and we will the pay back unclaimed monies to our grant givers. That said, we also know that some of our volunteers claim their out of pocket expenses and then donate them back to LASSN. If they pay tax, then by Gift Aiding their £37 of expenses back to LASSN, we get the benefit of £46.25 of unrestricted income. Whatever you choose to do about claiming your expenses from LASSN, we want you to know how much we value your contribution, and what a difference you are making to the lives of asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds. Thank you from everyone at LASSN Jon

Fundraising: A message from LASSN Trustees to all LASSN volunteers

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2019-10-16T13:40:39+01:003rd December, 2018|Categories: Volunteering|

Please can you help us raise funds at no cost and very little effort to yourselves? We know how hard you work, and how much effort you put into supporting asylum seekers and other migrants from across the world. And generally LASSN make a point of not asking our volunteers for any more than they already offer.  However, as we look ahead into the period 2019 to 2021, we see some funding gaps opening up, and we're trying to plan for these. So, with these in mind, we wanted to ask you to consider the following very simple and not-labour intensive possibilities:- Do you know of any small, local, or specialised grant awarding bodies or Trust Funds who maybe don't have an internet presence? If you do, then please let us have their contact details. We're always on the look out for possible sources of income - but we rely heavily on the internet for our research. One of our supporters introduced us to a specialist grant giver called Sharegift after they got talking to someone at a party. Sharegift's generous sponsorship of LASSN has been a real help over the last 3 years, and has ensured we've kept sufficient admin to process volunteer expenses and basic background checks. Do you know of any businesses or organisations that you think may be sympathetic to our cause? It would be great if you could help us to establish a link with them. We love supporting local businesses and we have established some great connections with excellent caterers. They provide us with excellent food at a reasonable - sometimes discounted price - and we make sure we tell people all about them. Oronaise, and Kerala are just two. LUSH cosmetics regularly donate some of their surplus stock to Guests in Grace Hosting.   Do you shop in supermarkets or drink in local pubs? Local branches sometimes donate to charities on the basis of a request from customers. Eg. Co-op members and customers can nominate local charities. Similarly Asda Foundation, Waitrose , even Greggs offer support to local groups, based on recommendations. The Chemic Tavern held a Star-Wars themed quiz night in aid of LASSN, and raised several hundred pounds for us. We were extremely grateful, and sent them a certificate of appreciation.    Do you work for a large business which offers to match funds raised by employees for good causes? HSBC run a scheme where they offer support to employees who also volunteer or fundraise for charities. If this appeals to you, then please go to to find out more about how we might support you in your efforts. Do you occasionally do fundraisers at work? Leeds Beckett University ran a cake stall that raised £300, and was split across two Leeds charities. We were delighted when they emailed us to tell us. If we'd known in advance we would have promoted the sale on social media and sent them some of our lovely posters and badges ;o) If you are thinking of holding such an event - please let us [...]