5 April 2017
The British Red Cross is extending its refugee support service to north Liverpool to offer case work, advice and a chance to socialise for people who are refugees or seeking asylum.
A fortnightly drop-in has started running at the newly-built Everton in the Community’s People’s Hub on Spellow Lane, just around the corner from the team’s Goodison Park stadium.
For the past five years, the British Red Cross has run a weekly drop-in at St Bride’s Church in the Toxteth area near Liverpool city centre. Many people seeking asylum are initially housed here when first arriving in the North West.
But with increasing numbers of people – particularly families – being dispersed to the L4 and L5 areas including Anfield and Everton, the British Red Cross felt that this was too far for people to travel for our support services. Most cannot afford public transport from their small allowances.
Most recent Home Office figures showed 1,520 people seeking asylum were currently living in Liverpool, around 0.3 per cent of the city’s population.
Help for people who feel isolated
Matthew Young, British Red Cross refugee support project co-ordinator for Liverpool, said: “I have met a lot of people from the north Liverpool area over the years who are refugees or seeking asylum, but it’s always been by chance – not because we had a presence in the area.
“We found people had many of the same issues – feeling isolated and not knowing where to go for help or what activities there are in the local area.
“We hope we can help people feel less isolated, make a contribution to their local community and get to know others in the area by offering help and advice.”
The new north Liverpool British Red Cross drop-in started in February and will run every other Tuesday 10.30am – 1.30pm. People can drop in for advice from a case worker, signposting to other organisations or sources of help, or just a chance to socialise.
Hot drinks, fresh fruit and a play area for children are also provided.
Everton in the Community
The drop-in is able to take place with the support of Everton’s official charity, Everton in the Community, which has kindly allowed the use of its community meeting rooms in the new People’s Hub.
People seeking asylum or with refugee status often tell the British Red Cross they feel isolated or lonely. They would like help to make more of a contribution to their local area, or to find ways of getting to know local people of a similar age or with similar interests.
Under current government rules, people seeking asylum are not allowed to work but can volunteer. They receive around £5 a day to live on, which must cover all their expenses apart from housing.
David [not his real name], 28, who came to the drop-in for the first time, said: “I am very happy that we came here today and found help.
“Me and a friend came for help to find out where we can get some more clothes.”
Matthew Young said: “We’re hoping that by being here every other week we can see people throughout the process of making the asylum claim and if something does come up we can offer help much earlier.
“The People’s Hub is a great building to be able to use and we are really grateful for their support in being able to run this drop-in.”
So far around 20 people have attended each drop-in session, with this expected to rise as more people find out about it.
Fellow charity Refugee Action is also offering information sessions at the drop-in to explain to people how the asylum system works and what they should expect while their claim is looked into.
Philip Clarke, Refugee Action project worker, said: “Applying for refugee status is a really complicated process so having a presence in this community to help guide people through this difficult time is really important.
“What’s been great so far is that it’s all new faces we’re seeing here, so we’re helping people we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
"We’ve found that many of the people seeking asylum have been living in the area for a number of months and have had no support.
“Everton has been really supportive of everything we’re trying to do and we really appreciate it.”
Phil Duffy, executive chair of Everton in the Community, said: “This is exactly what the new People’s Hub is all about – a place for individuals to go when they are in need, whether that’s to seek advice or refuge.
“We’re delighted to be supporting the British Red Cross in its work with refugees and we hope that, together, we can ensure that help and support is there for anyone that needs it.”
To find out more about the British Red Cross refugee support service in Liverpool, call 0151 702 5067 or go to redcross.org.uk/Where-we-work/In-the-UK/Northern-England/Lancashire-Merseyside-and-Greater-Manchester.
Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.
Everton in the Community is one of the UK's top sporting charity's and firmly established on the world stage of community sports development. As the official charity of Everton Football Club it is considered one of the Premier League’s leading community schemes due to the quality and reach of its various programmes.
Since 1988 Everton in the Community has been at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside, not afraid to tackle issues which others shied away from.
Through its 120 dedicated full-time staff, 72 casual staff and 144 volunteers, the charity offers over 50 programmes covering a range of social issues including health, employability, anti-social behaviour, crime, education, dementia, poverty, youth engagement, youth justice and disability.
Operating seven days a week, 365 days a year, Everton in the Community supports the most vulnerable and underprivileged members of local communities.
In recent years, the charity has helped more than 800 local unemployed people become ‘job ready’ through its ‘Everton 4 Employment’ scheme; developed a number of programmes with Mersey Care NHS Trust to tackle mental health issues among different groups within the local community and runs the biggest football programme for people with disabilities of any club in the world with 14 teams for all ages and abilities.
Everton in the Community has also achieved an 78 per cent non re-offending rate with its Safe Hands programme which helps integrate young offenders back into society and the charity made history when it became the first associated to a Premier League football club to open a Free School, ‘Everton Free School’.
In the last five years, Everton in the Community has picked up over 90 international, national and regional awards in recognition for their ground-breaking work including an Outstanding Achievement Award at the StadiumBusinessAwards in 2015.
Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale, executive chair for Everton in the Community, was recently recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours where she was awarded an MBE for services to the Merseyside community.
For more information on Everton in the Community visit evertonfc.com/community