February 5, 2018
by rst2012
Comments Off on Asylum in UK Parliamentary Report on Immigration and Consensus

Asylum in UK Parliamentary Report on Immigration and Consensus

Guest blog by Katharine Weatherhead

In January 2018, the UK Parliament published a report called Immigration policy: basis for building consensus. Written by a committee of MPs, the report is the outcome of an inquiry into “whether it might be possible to build greater consensus on immigration policy” in the UK (paragraph 1). In this post, we briefly consider what the report says about asylum.Immigration policy Basis for building consensus

The report is structured around five recommendations, as follows:

  • Immigration policy should be informed by honest and open debate and supported by evidence.
  • Fair and clear rules need to be properly enforced.
  • There should be different approaches for different types of migration.
  • Immigration should work for the economic and social interests of the UK and its citizens.
  • Action is needed to address the impact of immigration on local communities.

Humanitarian protection is discussed under the third recommendation on taking different approaches to different migration types. Three main points about humanitarian protection are made in paragraphs 73-79. First, that asylum commitments must be sustained. Second, that the Government should increase efforts to confront misconceptions about asylum seekers among the public. Third, that the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme has had successes that should be built upon in a widened resettlement scheme.

It is positive that the report emphases the need to continue supporting those in need of humanitarian protection. The Refugee Survival Trust gave 526 destitution grants in the first two quarters of 2017-18, totalling £44,595. This indicates that a number of asylum seekers in Scotland struggle to meet their essential needs. Ongoing, widened support which appreciates existing initiatives could do much to alleviate the destitution of asylum seekers.

However, the report’s discussion of asylum also requires careful consideration. The report says that “a much clearer differentiation must be made between asylum and migration for other reasons” (paragraph 79). While asylum seekers have specific protection needs, labels associated with ‘different types of migration’ can be problematic. Simplified divisions risk exacerbating negative attitudes to people who, for example, are not recognised as refugees. It is important to bear in mind that all migrants have human rights, irrespective of their migration status.

More information

Click here to read the parliamentary report. Click here to read a blog post on the report written by Elspeth MacDonald for the Migrant Rights Network, entitled “Some principles for a truly ‘open and honest’ discussion on migration”. Click here to read the latest figures about Refugee Survival Trust destitution grants. Click here to read reports from the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.

February 2, 2018
by rst2012
Comments Off on In the news again…

In the news again…

ferret article Scotland invisible epidemic refugee destitution

An article about the Refugee Survival Trust’s support for destitute refugees and asylum seekers features in The Ferret today

Our record-breaking year in 2017 has been picked up by The Ferret, which today features an in-depth article about Scotland’s “invisible epidemic” of refugee destitution.

The article, by Karin Goodwin, looks at the increase in demand on services such as RST’s destitution grants programme, as well as other support services provided by Positive Action in Housing, the Scottish Refugee Council and the Red Cross in Scotland.

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central, is quoted as saying:

“It is real cause for alarm that the Refugee Survival Trust (RST) has issued a record-breaking number of destitution grants in 2017,” she added.

“The assistance being provided by charities and organisations such as the Refugee Survival Trust is invaluable, but at the same time, the need for such third party intervention clearly illustrates the inadequacy of support on offer from the UK Government.”

Read the full article

January 26, 2018
by rst2012
Comments Off on A record-breaking year: more than £100,000 of destitution grants

A record-breaking year: more than £100,000 of destitution grants

RST destitution grants 2015 2017

October to December 2017 saw the Refugee Survival Trust distribute a record-breaking number of destitution grants – 428 grants, to a total of £37,889.57. This is significantly more in one quarter than we distributed in the whole of 2014-15.

The surge at the end of 2017, in addition to increasing demand throughout the year, means that for the first year ever we distributed more than £100,000 and more than 1000 grants (1167 in total) during one calendar year (January – December 2017).

Read our latest Destitution Grants analysis for more information.


November 27, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Things to do in Glasgow

Things to do in Glasgow


Hello I’m Mohamed and I have been in Glasgow for 8 month and it’s really interesting city and when you arrive here you have a lot off things to do and I recommend these things :
1. The Tall Ship at Riverside Museum is one of only five Clyde built ships still afloat in the world today and she is the only one of her kind in the UK.The-Riverside-Museum-2048x1365[1] - Copy
2. At the heart of Glasgow Harbour, in the city’s West End, is the iconic Riverside Museum, named European Museum of the Year in 2013, this multi-award winning museum is home to over 3,000 objects that detail Glasgow’s rich past from its days as maritime powerhouse to a glimpse into daily Glasgow life in the early to mid 20th Century. Also situated in the West End is Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which first opened its doors in 1901. It houses one of Europe’s great art collections and is amongst the top three free-to-enter visitor attractions in Scotland and one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom outside of London. th_65d1300db123ce22f6e2569fb36764f8_riversidemuseum00590[1] - Copy
3. Whether it’s the Art Nouveau genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, or Billy Connolly’s infamous Banana Boots at the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens which appeal, you won’t be short of amazing places to visit in the City of Culture.art_nouveau_peacock_by_chronoperates-d4i28vq[1] - Copy
4. Medieval cathedral.    Just 10 minutes walk from the city centre, it’s the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to have survived the 1560 Reformation almost entirely intact.

This magnificent example of Scottish Gothic architecture was built between the 13th & 15th centuries and is widely regarded as the high point of cathedral building in Europe.  But no description of the cathedral would be complete without mentioning its inextricable link with the city’s patron saint & founder, St. Mungo, who built his church on this site and who was buried here in 612. Mungo was the first bishop within the ancient British kingdom of Strathclyde. His diocese was vast, reaching from Loch Lomond in the north, to Cumbria in the south, and his shrine here was a great centre of Christian pilgrimage until the Scottish Reformation.glasgow-cathedral[1] - Copy

  1. Shopping

The biggest brands and major retailers can be found in Glasgow’s Style Mile – the square in the very centre of Glasgow which houses an extraordinary concentration of shops. There’s a great selection of outlets in Glasgow’s Style Mile with malls, independent boutiques, designer stores, and one off-speciality shops including: Buchanan GalleriesBuchanan QuarterSt. Enoch Centre, Ingram StreetHouse of Fraser, Princes Square and more.FA0YCN-900x540[1] - Copy
6. Mackintosh

Barcelona has Gaudí, Chicago has Frank Lloyd Wright and Glasgow has the pioneering Art Nouveau of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The innovative style of Glasgow’s most famous son is seen throughout the city. His architectural masterpiece, Glasgow School of Art, was voted by the Royal Institute of British Architects as the finest building designed by a British architect in the last 175 years. His work also includes The LighthouseMackintosh House, the Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross and Scotland Street SchoolGlasgow-School-of-Art-Mackintosh-building-My-Friends-House[1] - Copy

The University of Glasgow  is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland‘s four ancient universities. It was founded in 1451. Along with the University of Edinburgh, the University was part of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century.
University_of_Glasgow_Gilbert_Scott_Building_-_Feb_2008-2[1] - Copy


(Thanks to Wikipedia and People Make Glasgow for the information shared here!)

November 27, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on RST Destitution Grants April – September 2017

RST Destitution Grants April – September 2017

The first half of 2017-18 has once again seen an increase in the number of people applying for Destitution Grants from the Refugee Survival Trust, in comparison to previous years.

Q1 & Q2 2015-16 – 370 grants distributed to a value of £25,821

Q1 & Q2 2016-17 – 410 grants distributed to a value of £35,644

Q1 & Q2 2017-18 – 526 grants distributed to a value of £44,595

Countries of origin
This year has seen a significant increase in the number of Iranians, with more than 1 in 5 of all applicants coming from Iran. At the same time, there has been a decrease in the number of Syrians applying; so far in 2016-17 Syria has 7th most applicants, behind Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria and Libya.

Top five countries of origin:stats


Analysis of gender of applicants to the destitution grants programme shows that the increase in applications comes predominantly from men; whilst the number of women have stayed relatively constant, the number of male applicants have increased by more than a third when compared to the same time period last year:


Housing situation

48% of Destitution Grant applicants were homeless at the time of application, compared to 28% in the same period in 2016-17.


The number of children included in applications remains high, 192 in Q1 and Q2 of 2017-18, compared to 218 over the same time period the previous year. Our Destitution Grants are always given as a ‘last resort’  and it remains a significant concern to the Refugee Survival Trust that so many refugee and asylum seeker children are destitute and that their families are not receiving other forms of support.

Reason for claim

There has been a significant increase in the number of people applying for support with essential living expenses. The fact that more than 300 individuals and families have been left in this situation in Scotland in just 6 months is again a cause for concern.

There has also been a steady increase in the past two years of the number of people applying for travel grants to go to Liverpool. Since January 2015 any asylum seeker wishing to submit a fresh claim has to travel to Liverpool to submit paperwork. This is an arduous and potentially dangerous journey that asylum seekers usually undertake in one day, travelling down on the overnight bus, waiting for an early morning connection, staying most of the day in Liverpool and returning late. At the stage of making a fresh claim, most applicants would have had other support removed and would not have the means to pay for their travel without the support of RST.

One positive development is that the number of people applying for short-term financial support because they are awaiting mainstream benefits has reduced.


October 31, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Thanks to all at the Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultramarathon

Thanks to all at the Jedburgh 3 Peaks Ultramarathon

We were really pleased to be chosen as this year’s charity partner by the excellent people at the Jedburgh Three Peaks Ultramarathon. Besides raising much-needed funds for our destitution grants the race organisers also invited us to join them on the day for a spot of running. Ulp! RST staff and pals took part in the relay race dressed as fish in capes (go team Cape Cod!) and had a great time all round. As you can see, fancy dress is strongly encouraged for all, even canine spectators:


If you’re looking for a challenge in 2018 we would highly recommend this event – it’s got an incredibly welcoming and inclusive atmosphere and is a great opportunity to see (and run up) some beautiful Borders scenery.

Cape Cod before: 22908599_10102381077419171_661912517_o

And after! 22883886_10102381076680651_1248455766_o

We’d like to say a huge thanks to all the runners who generously donated to RST as well as contributing food bank donations to our partners at Central & West Integration Network – you’re all champs!

October 30, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Hello from a new volunteer

Hello from a new volunteer

I’m Mohamed from Sudan and I’m 19 years old. I’m studying ESOL in Glasgow Clyde college. And I came to Glasgow to learn British culture and for studying Administration and IT in Glasgow university but I have to improve my English. At the moment I’m doing volunteering with RST and my aim from this volunteering is improve my English and gain new skills and I’m keen to learn everything new for me.20171030_110753

October 17, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Freshly leeked – Veg Pledge is back!

Freshly leeked – Veg Pledge is back!

Following its very successful launch in early summer, we are running another Veg Pledge to raise funds for our Destitute Asylum Seeker Service shopping budget programme.  Through this programme, we give small amounts of cash to help destitute asylum seekers in our temporary project accommodation with their weekly shop.

Fruit & veg

The people we work with have no form of income. We help them to register for the food bank, but the supply of fresh food is limited and variable. We give each asylum seeker in our accommodation £10 per week to buy nutritious essentials such as dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables.

In a time of great stress and uncertainty, a balanced and nutritious diet is even more important than ever. The shopping budget that we give each asylum seeker can help them to remain as healthy as possible while we work with our partners to help them to resolve their cases and to find routes out of destitution.

You can contribute to Veg Pledge here.

For one month starting 17 October, Localgiving will match fund every £10 raised through their Grow Your Tenner programme.

You can find out more about our Destitute Asylum Seeker Service here.