29 January 2009
Brian Thompson / Press EyeTesco and the Red Cross have teamed up to trial a unique pilot project to alleviate the suffering of newly arrived vulnerable migrants.
Asylum seekers arriving in Northern Ireland could face a bleak future if they are destitute or have no recourse to public funds.
The link-up with Tesco will allow the Red Cross to issue independent living vouchers to the value of £20 for those new arrivals who are in immediate need of basic provisions, primarily food and essential clothing.
The project will have a significant impact in enabling vulnerable new arrivals to select items to match their immediate need and will serve to introduce them to grocery shopping in Northern Ireland. Neil McKittrick, Red Cross refugee services manager, explained: "The project aims to assist vulnerable asylum seekers who are in most need, as well as helping them to familiarise themselves with buying goods in Northern Ireland.
"We are very grateful for the time and commitment of Tesco in assisting us to tackle this issue in Northern Ireland. By working together we can ensure that those in crisis have practical support when they need it most."
Colin Hampsey of Tesco says: "We're happy to develop this partnership with the Red Cross, to provide practical help to people in desperate circumstances."
The Red Cross has identified newly arrived asylum seekers as one of the most destitute and vulnerable groups in Northern Ireland.
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