When people first come to us, they are often at a point of crisis. It may be a housing arrangement has suddenly fallen through, or a negative decision in an asylum case, or difficulty finding a doctor. Our Support Service team is here to listen and take steps with that person to resolve the issue.
People registered with the Centre can be referred to the Support Service by any member of staff or can self refer. The support we offer is long term, often lasting two or three years but can be much longer. Someone might initially come for help in a crisis, for example with housing, but over time will come to know us and trust us and so open up in a way which might not be possible elsewhere. For example, over the course of a few years we might help the same person find a new solicitor, access trauma counselling, enrol on a college course, find a GP and access stable accommodation.
Angele had her first claim for asylum refused. A friend introduced her to the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants, telling her it was a safe place which could be trusted and which would help. ‘I just wanted to cry and cry. Before this I had been homeless and scraping around for food because I had no benefits or support. But they help me.’ We worked with Angele over several years, helping her find a refugee hosting family and she eventually gained refugee status in 2020.
In the last academic year the Support Service:
- Helped 20 people out of destitution.
- Supported 12 people through the process of obtaining refugee status.
The Support Service works with many partner organisations. For example, we support people into housing through Housing Justice, Room for Refugees, C4WS, London Catholic Worker and others. Meanwhile we help people access counseling through Room to Heal, Freedom from Torture and Helen Bamber.
“The clients we work with are mainly asylum seekers who are at various stages of the asylum process in the UK. We seek to support them as they go through a system which often treats them in a hostile way.” Member of staff.