Wakefield District City of Sanctuary has over the last ten years built a broad network of support within our community for asylum seekers dispersed into our community and for those passing through Urban House. We have provided practical friendship, help, advice and support via five drop-in sessions per week, peer support, English language and conversation, gardening, art sessions, craft sessions, social games and activities, children’s activities, and access to expert advice and support across a range of issues. We have run an Asylum Seekers Support Fund to provide basic funding and supplies of food for those most in need.
Over the last eight years we have run a clothing store to provide ‘Emergency Clothing Packs’, as well as other clothing, shoes, toiletries, books, games, ‘Welcome to the World’ packs, Moses baskets, children’s buggies and many other resources to people passing through Urban House, to asylum seekers within our community, and, indeed, to those in surrounding districts as required. The store receives generous donations from the local community and from groups as far afield as York, Ripon and Nidderdale.
We make sure that all the clothing we provide is good quality, clean (free from any infestation), and is washed by volunteers. We have been encouraged to hear that the Clothing Store has been seen by others as a model to emulate.
We make sure that everything we offer to residents in Urban House is good quality, clean, safe and as far as possible, new. We have defined protocols for transferring these donations safely into Urban House. During the pandemic these procedures have been strengthened and extended to include other local initial accommodation.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis the clothing store received additional funding of £14,000 to continue to provide new clothing and shoes to all those in Urban House and other initial accommodation locally.
No-one seeking our support within initial accommodation, or in dispersed asylum accommodation has gone without. The work of our volunteers is ongoing, and is greatly valued. We thank all our grassroots members for their help and support.