Asha North Staffordshire
Asha North Staffordshire
Unit 7 Hanley Business Park, Cooper Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4DW E: [email protected] W:

April/May 2022

If the majority of human beings do not want wars, but at the same time believe it is impossible to stop them, then the first change we must bring about is in our hands. We must change the idea that “it is not possible” because it is only what we believe about reality that prevents us from transforming it.’

Mikhail Gorbachev, 1997


Food distributed from Asha 162

Food delivered to homes 83

Clothing given out 94

Casework 25

Emotional support 18

Women’s Club 59 (numbers are sometimes restricted if enough helpers are not available)

Men’s Club 38

Socialising 63

Digital support 69

Asylum Guides given to individuals 15

Referral to other services 9

Asylum seeker volunteer hours 140 = 48% of the work of the charity in April.

Total 775



March 2019, Asha had 28 active local volunteers. Natural wastage has
reduced this number to 10 and Asha’s centre-based services are now
largely managed by 12 asylum volunteers from Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire,
Nigeria, Albania, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, Sudan, El Salvador, Sri
Lanka, and Sierra Leone. This is a positive development but it does
not negate a need for local volunteers and for befrienders. Before
long it is hoped to achieve funding to develop a Befriending Service.


On 27 April, the Bill passed without the
amendments supported by the House of Lords. Together with Refugees
and countless others kept the pressure on MPs but to no avail. Asylum
seeks will not be granted the right to work; most
will be denied the chance to claim asylum in the UK and may face
deportation. Those that do manage to secure refugee status will only
be given temporary protection and will be reviewed for deportation at
regular intervals. The
Refugee Convention is effectively being
torn up.

must believe that the outcome does not represent the will of the
British people. According to the Opinium survey for the British Red
Cross, 62% of the public agree that the UK should welcome refugees
fleeing war or persecution with
the same percentage thinking the UK has a moral duty to welcome its
share of the world’s refugees.


significant strides have been made. Pressure on MPs must be
maintained to achieve a legal and fair response to the refugee


on Easter activities for children, Asha’s new children’s worker,
Miriam, writes “I am loving being here and having the opportunity
to support the children and families at ASHA. It is a lovely family
to be a part of.”


goes on to describe a Easter break when ‘we took 17 children with
their parents to Peak Wildlife Park. We were lucky to be blessed with
great weather and the staff and families enjoyed being immersed in
beautiful nature. We saw over 15 different animals including, lemurs,
wallabies, alpacas, meercats and penguins. Everyone enjoyed cuddling
and interacting with the animals and some children wanted to take a
penguin home. It was a brilliant opportunity to get out into the
countryside and witness the children’s confidence grow throughout the
day. Parents commented on how relaxing it was and it was lovely to
see how much everyone enjoyed their time together.’


adds: We are incredibly grateful to Peak Wildlife Park for free
tickets. We
are keeping the trips small as this helps
us to manage the number and risk, and we select families that we
think would most benefit from the day out.


is a charity which provides period products for those
struggling to afford them. For the past five years, Linda Allbutt,
founder of Period Poverty, has worked tirelessly to eradicate period
poverty in Staffordshire and Cheshire and she always makes sure that
Asha is well provided with sanitary products. Asylum seekers are
particularly vulnerable. A single adult receives £40.85
on a payment card and a 12-pack of sanitary pads costs a minimum of
£4.20 and the price is increasing. It is reported that families will
keep their daughter out of school during her period.

a support worker, Lydia is the first contact for an asylum seeker and
for organisation like the British Red Cross (RC), Refugee Action
(RA), Citizens Advice, NHS Asylum and Refugee Health team and Housing
Solutions. She receives a huge number of emails and enquiries every
day. Some may require casework, others referral to other Asha
services, the BRC or RA. The former if an asylum seeker is destitute
because his or her application has been unsuccessful or their Home
Office support is delayed, the latter if they need immigration advice
or access to a solicitor.

Tamba assists an asylum
seeker to clarify the help they are seeking and then he facilitates a
face-to-face online meeting with a member of Refugee Action. He also
introduces new arrivals to our Asylum Guide which explains the asylum
process, what a claimant can do to support their application, and
various sources of local help and support. This helps an individual
to regain some agency over their life and reduces feelings of fear
and apprehension.

the British Red Cross could offer limited financial support for a few
weeks to an asylum seeker whose application had failed and who could
not claim benefit or obtain employment. Today payments are based
around bank cards which are a challenge for a caseworker and for a
destitute individual who may very well be homeless. The BRC are
hoping soon to provide HUGG vouchers. HUGG is a free of charge
platform for local authorities, schools, and charities to purchase
and send vouchers directly to those in need.

whose claim is successful, which is about two-thirds of claimants,
may become destitute because within three weeks they forfeit any
claim for support or accommodation and must find somewhere to live,
sign on at the Job Centre, claim universal credit and open a bank
account. This is often an unrealistic goal, and an individual becomes



In addition to being an arm of Refugee Action, Tamba organises
Saturday football on a YMCA pitch. This is a good opportunity to get
to know new arrivals who are often brought along by someone already
here or who find themselves living in the same house. Being outdoors
and being physical is a good stressbuster and it helps a new arrival
to mix with others .and feel more ‘normal.’


The second report by the Patient Coalition
for AlI, Data, and Digital Tech in Health describes the work being
undertaken to combat digital health inequalities across the UK.
Asha’s experience is described in one of four case studies, the
others being on Simplifying Language on the NHS Website, 100% Digital
Leeds-Supporting Care Homes during the Pandemic, and 65 65 HIGH
Street, Nailsea Places.




of morals in the Rwanda Scheme’

4 May 2022

Jonathan Gullis has clearly set out his Conservative approach to
Immigration (2 May 2022). His use of questionable statistics and lack
of moral perspective is part o a trend by the present government. Of
all the asylum applications in the EU and UK combined, the UK takes
8%, or the 18
largest intake per head of population. Under the United Nations
convention, to which we are signatories, everybody has a right to
seek asylum in another country. No-one should be considered
‘illegal.’ They are entitled to a legal process to determine
their refugee status.

Economic migrants’ is a
myth. Following investigation, around 2/3 asylum seekers are
accepted as valid refugees.

Clearly exploitation of
these vulnerable people by traffickers needs to be prevented, but if
there were legal routes by which asylum seekers could apply, there
would be no need for them to risk their lives on a Channel crossing.
It may be impossible to have offices in war zones, but premises in
Greece or France could enable them to apply for entry. The fact that
such offices don’t exist is the reason why in desperation they risk
the open seas.

morality of sending people, many of whom have already suffered
torture or fear killings in Rwanda, a country which has been
described where ‘torture in official and unofficial detention
facilities is commonplace’ as are ‘killings and disappearance’
may have the wholehearted support of Gullis, but many of us will no
feel this fits with our sense of justice.


Asha was pleased to accept invitations to three linked events at
Keele University. Arts for Peace; Layered Memories of Conflict, an
exhibition of paintings by painter, sculpture, and peace activist
Alison Lochhead

whose artwork is about the impact of war and social injustices;
Refugee Festival to raise awareness and money for refugees at which
Asha had a stall alongside NorSCARF, and Godfrey took part in a
conversation on Sustainability and Conflict.


RYS’S MARARTHON Asha’s Children’s Coordinator, Ryn, wishes to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who sponsored her in the Manchester Marathon. She completed in 4.32 hours and raised £747.50 for Asha.



Ryn comments that ‘the whole experience was amazing from the training to the race itself. The crowds, music, the vibe was truly amazing. There were singers, a choir, and Deep House Disco under the M62 Bridge. Although everyone was running for their own reason or cause, we all supported one another to get around. At 22.2 miles I got to the point where I just needed to walk. After half a mile I was able to run again. 26.2 miles is a really long way, but nothing by comparison to the long trudges that Asha service users endure as they seek safety.’



  • Occasional food collectors Asha needs a few people to step in on a one-off basis to collect food from Aldi or Tesco when the regular collector goes on holiday.

If you think you may be able to help, email: [email protected]

The Saturday morning mother and children clubs needs more helpers. If you think you may be able to do so, please email Ryn on [email protected]
Join our mailing list:

T: 01782363122  Whatsapp Logo
T:  Godfrey on 07429007234   
E:  [email protected]
   T:  Lydia on     0791–411–7440     E:          
[email protected]

Charity Reg. No. 11769634 (England & Wales) Company No. CE013097

Due to the impact of COVID 19, British Red Cross informed us they are unable to provide a service at Asha. They have moved to an online service.
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