Everton In The Community supports British Red Cross
The British Red Cross has started a fortnightly drop-in at the newly-built Everton in the Community’s People’s Hub to offer case work, advice and a chance to socialise for people who are refugees or seeking asylum.
The service at the People’s Hub on Spellow Lane, a short distance from Goodison Park, is part of the British Red Cross extending its refugee support to north Liverpool.
The new north Liverpool British Red Cross drop-in started in February and will run every other Tuesday from 10.30am-1.30pm, with people able to 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.
For the past five years, the network has run a weekly drop-in at St Bride’s Church in the Toxteth area near Liverpool city centre, where many people seeking asylum are initially housed 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 this was too far for people to travel for support services as 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.
Matthew Young, British Red Cross refugee support project co-ordinator for Liverpool, 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.”