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“What can I do to help refugees from Afghanistan?”

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2021-09-03T08:56:19+01:002nd September, 2021|Categories: Asylum, Headline posts, Resources|

A lot of people have been in touch over the last week, with unbelievably generous offers of help, housing, volunteering - all asking to know ways they can help refugees from Afghanistan. We are unbelievably grateful, and slightly embarrassed that we've yet to hear of any Afghans who've arrived in Leeds on the various resettlement schemes. So we've helped to draft this joint reponse from Leeds Migration Partnership so the refugee charities of Leeds give out clear and consistent messages. We are told that when people arrive, they will be provided with wrap-around care, and that the UK Government have this in hand. That said - despite "Operation Warm Welcome" - the UK Government plans to make the welcome for refugees who arrive without invitation less than warm. Including Afghan refugees who are not eligible for this wrap-around care. You might agree. You might disagree. But we'd like you to know more about it - and how it connects to the situation of folks who aren't lucky enough to be airlifted out of dangerous situations. You can find more info on this after this briefing sheet. Most of the organisations working with refugees in Leeds are working with people who have come to the UK without an invitation. Some of those people are from Afghanistan, but most refugees in Leeds are not eligible for the help offered to people who’ve been hand-picked by the Home Office. And although the Home Office have asked that all offers of help for Afghan people go through them – it’s actually much better to contact the Council (if you have an empty property that could be used to house people) or Migration Yorkshire – who are coordinating things on a regional level. They have produced an excellent in depth explanation of how people can offer help. Collecting, storing, cleaning and organising goods is an expensive and time consuming task. Charity shops like St Vincent’s do this brilliantly well, as well as offering support to people seeking asylum as well as refugees. It’s generally cheaper to buy new from Asda/Primark. Plus, from a human perspective – there’s enormous dignity in not being forced to wear second hand undies. If UK people want to show support for refugees more generally – there’s an opportunity for them to speak out against the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration. This New Plan intends to create a two tier system for refugees. One group will arrive at the invitation of the UK Government, selected from particular refugee camps. These are called resettlement schemes. If the New Plan passes into law, the other group – the people who have not arrived on UK Government chartered planes or at UK invitation – will be said to have arrived here illegally. So even if people seeking refuge persuade the Home Office that their lives are in danger, and they cannot return home (for example that they are from Afghanistan and are wanted by the Taliban) they will be treated [...]

Volunteer Guidance March 2021: the Roadmap out of Lockdown 3

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2021-03-02T12:10:57+00:002nd March, 2021|Categories: Befriending, Connecting Opportunities, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Resources, Volunteering|

Last week, the Prime Minister announced a new Roadmap to relaxing the Pandemic restrictions. This sets out a loose timetable of how the Government predicts restrictions will be lifted, from 8th March 2021 (when children will return to face to face schooling and one-to-one socialising in public spaces becomes possible.)  If you are looking for useful summaries you can share, both the BBC and The Guardian explanations work well in Google Translate, (as does this one from AgeUK) and the multilingual resources on the Migrant Info Hub are also reliable and accessible.    LASSN’s position remains the same as it was last March and last July: that Staff and Volunteers should Keep up to date with (and follow) the official advice and guidance from Government and Public Health Make sure the person you support is getting the free monthly phone credit offered by LASSN Proceed with caution, especially if your actions/activities could increase the risk of infection for you and the people you support Although mass vaccination has helped to reduce the number of people getting very sick with Covid-19 - please be aware The science shows that most of the people we support are at significantly higher risk of infection and severe illness than the wider population Most LASSN clients have not received a first dose of the vaccine yet Our clients are likely to take their lead from you about what is acceptable and not acceptable. So the way you go about planning/actually meeting up will likely influence how they start meeting and socialising with others Even if you have been vaccinated, and the person you are meeting has been vaccinated, this does not mean you are both "safe" or that you can act as if restrictions don't apply. None of the current vaccines have been proven to reduce the spread of infection, so it is still important to reduce your possible exposure to the virus by limiting the number of people you see, and prevent transmission of the virus via masks and social distancing.   So, if and when you and the person you support judge the right time to meet up in person  Do so within the official advice and guidance from Government and Public Health Choose a method of contact that suits both you and the person you are supporting (and the other members of their household) and consider the questions we posed at the bottom of the guidance from July 2020  Please speak with your Volunteers Manager before you do, so we can make sure you have everything you need to do this safely LASSN’s activities will resume at a pace we all feel comfortable with, with risks identified and managed carefully. There are no plans to re-occupy our offices as our main place of work just yet, and certainly not until we’ve been able to see the impact of Step Four. Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm over the last year, particularly through the last few months of Lockdown3. It has been hard for [...]

Grace Hosting features in the NACCOM Hosting Toolkit

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2018-11-09T13:50:07+00:0014th July, 2017|Categories: Grace Hosting, Resources|Tags: , |

We're proud that Grace Hosting features in this excellent toolkit produced by NACCOM  - The No Accommodation Network. This toolkit tells you everything you need to know about how to set up a Hosting Scheme, and to run it safely and effectively, and draws from a wide range of experiences, and different types of Hosting projects. Participants of Grace Hosting in Leeds explain in the Toolkit how hosting creates a stable environment where residents can concentrate on their asylum claims and find ‘hope and friendship’. One host explains their involvement; ‘We started hosting in March 2015 and have hosted many people, mainly from North Africa and the Middle East…. We’ve been able to connect with people through cooking and eating together and have met some really nice people as well as learnt some lovely recipes from different parts of the world… Sometimes we see people more than once, which has been nice because we’ve been able to get to know people more and have built up some good relationships. We’ve really enjoyed the experience and what we have always tried to do is offer a warm welcome. Having heard from some people who’ve stayed with us that they’ve experienced prejudice and hostility during their time in the UK, this is all the more important to us.’ Strictly speaking, you should sign up to issuu to download a copy of the toolkit, but we've posted it here to save you the trouble.

Playing Games for ESOL

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2018-11-09T13:49:52+00:0013th July, 2017|Categories: English at Home, Resouces, Resources, Volunteering|Tags: , |

David and Riley - our Volunteers Managers at English at Home  - have put together an excellent resource, explaining how you might use board games to help someone learn English. So far we've found 7 excellent examples, from Banagrams to Who Am I? but we are sure there are more - so we'd love to know if you have any more suggestions  - drop us a line with your favourites, and we'll add them to the list .  Click on the graphic below to see what's beein included so far... 


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2017-03-18T07:09:53+00:0018th March, 2017|Categories: Asylum, Befriending, Destitution, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Hosting, Resouces, Resources|Tags: , , , |

Many people contact LASSN to ask how we've set up English at Home or Grace Hosting or Befriending. In response to this demand for info, we've put together a page with various documents and links to help other people who are thinking about doing something similar. Click here for more information We're proud to share what we've done, and to explain why we do things in a particular way. All we ask is that if you use anything of ours, you credit us, and share with other people too.

The Immigration Act, Bank Accounts & Refugees – Training resources

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2019-12-11T10:30:04+00:0020th February, 2017|Categories: Refugee, Resources, Training, Uncategorised|Tags: , , |

Opening a bank account can be difficult  - if not impossible - for many refugees and asylum seekers. The Immigration Act and new European Anti Money Laundering directives are going to make this even harder. This short course was written to help people who support refugees and asylum seekers to understand more about why this is, and to provide some practical steps to help them. You can download all the materials from here 

New resources for Young People

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2018-11-09T11:25:38+00:0028th October, 2016|Categories: Resources|Tags: , |

There are loads of online resources aimed at young people, to help them to understand more about refugees, asylum seekers, and what they can do to help. We've selected a few of the resources we've found most helpful - books, websites, and films - to help young people find out more for themselves. You can find these at along with downloadable resources for parents and teachers. And of course, if we've missed off your favourite - please let us know, by emailing [email protected]

NEW: LASSN English Teaching resources online

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2019-12-06T10:58:02+00:0014th June, 2016|Categories: English at Home, Resouces, Resources, Volunteering|Tags: , , , |

We've decided to open up all our online resources for teaching English to anyone that wants them: more than 800 different teaching resources*. We usually recommend to our Volunteers that they speak with the English at Home Volunteers manager before using them - to make sure that they're suitable - but they're now completely available to anyone who wants them. Written resources: In addition, we have revised and updated our list of online ESOL resources and published a list of local ESOL classes. The expanded and updated Learning English Leeds website [] is due to be updated in late June 2016, so we're hopeful this will be the last time we need to publish this. *Please note - although we produced many of these, we didn't produce all of them ;o)  

A guide to helping refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds and beyond

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2018-11-09T12:31:22+00:0010th September, 2015|Categories: Asylum, Headline posts, Resources, Volunteering|Tags: , |

There are many ways to help out, and we know volunteering with LASSN won't suit everyone. There will also be a public meeting 5.30pm - 7.30pm, Tuesday 15th September at the West Yorkshire Playhouse to get an update about what's happening in the City, meet other people who want to make a difference, and find out how you can play a part in what comes next. You don't have to sign up to anything on the night. Come along for all of it, a bit of it. It'll be nice to see you.

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