May 22, 2017
by rst2012

Veg pledge for asylum seekers

Unfortunately, many people within the UK’s asylum process experience destitution. The Refugee Survival Trust’s Destitute Asylum Seeker Service is a lifeline for these individuals; we provide comprehensive support, including organising accommodation, bus pass vouchers and legal advice to help them to resolve their cases. We are now raising funds for our shopping budget programme, through which we give small amounts of cash to help refugees with their weekly shop.

Fruit & veg

The destitute asylum seekers that 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 £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.

Contribute to the veg pledge here, and find out more about our Destitute Asylum Seeker Service here.

May 15, 2017
by rst2012

Preventing homelessness through the Destitute Asylum Seeker Service

Guest post by Katharine WeatherheadDASS_Leaflet_Front_Cover2

Next month, it will have been four years since the publication of a report entitled Preventing Destitute Homelessness (June 2013). The report, commissioned by the Refugee Survival Trust and compiled by Community InfoSource, investigated the challenges posed by homelessness for asylum seekers in Scotland. What were its findings and are they still relevant today?

The report pulled together findings from a range of sources across Scotland and England. Asylum seekers shared their experiences of sleeping in night shelters and being hosted in someone’s house (pp. 23-26). Domestic abuse, lack of access to showers, and lack of privacy are some of the issues they faced. Migrant support organisations also expressed difficulties in addressing aspects of destitution, from accommodation and hosting to advice and subsistence (pp. 18-22). These organisations mentioned funding and coordination as areas of concern.

The report identified a need for improvement in tackling homelessness (p. 27), a problem that results from policies and administrative practices which compose the asylum system. In response, RST headed up a project called the Destitute Asylum Seeker Service (DASS) with the support of several partner organisations: Scottish Refugee Council, British Red Cross, University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, Glasgow Night Shelter, Fasgadh and Rehoboth Nissi Ministries.

Based in Glasgow, the DASS project uses a model of holistic support and offers a range of services to address the needs of refused asylum seekers. Its three core areas of activity are destitution advice, legal support, and accommodation. By April 2016, after only 9 months of operation, the DASS project had had more than 200 applicants for assistance. It then received funding from Foundation Scotland’s New Beginnings Fund and the Big Lottery Fund to extend and continue its work.

Today, the findings of the Preventing Destitute Homelessness report continue to be relevant as a reminder of the hardships faced by asylum seekers who are excluded from social safety nets. The ongoing work of the DASS project evidences that destitution is still a significant challenge for asylum seekers in Scotland. Projects which respond to homelessness can have a positive impact on people’s lives, as encapsulated in the words of a DASS beneficiary (see extract).DASS quote

More information

For a summary of the Preventing Destitute Homelessness report, click here. For the full report, click here. For information on the DASS project and details on how to get in touch, see this short leaflet and the RST website.

April 28, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Get involved with RST!

Get involved with RST!

We are looking for volunteers to join our events team in Glasgow, helping to plan and run event and activities to fundraise for and raise awareness of RST. In the past we’ve had concerts, poetry events, sponsored swims, a t-shirt design competition and much more – can you bring some great ideas and enthusiasm to the RST volunteer team? 

About the role

Fundraising volunteers are crucial to the continued work of RST. A small team shares the tasks of raising funds and promoting the work of the organisation by organising and representing RST at concerts, talks, and other events.

This is a great opportunity to gain experience in practical fundraising, meet new people, have fun and make a huge difference to people’s lives by raising funds for our grants. 

Main tasks

  • Thinking of creative, engaging fundraising activities and making them a reality
  • Working as part of a team to plan and organise community events to raise awareness of RST’s work and fundraise for our grants
  • Diverse events management tasks – everything from promotion and publicity to budgeting, seeking out acts or even performing yourself if you’ve got a talent to share!Georgian musicians

Skills and experience needed

  • Creative thinker
  • Enthusiasm
  • Good communication skills

Benefits to the volunteer

  • Access to RST induction and volunteer training programme
  • Learn valuable skills like events organising & promotion and public speaking
  • Meet new people and improve your confidence
  • Make a difference – contribute to RST’s crucial work with refugees and asylum seekers 


This role is very flexible. Volunteers can take a very active role in organising their own events or can be added to a list to be notified of events coming up and assistance required.Jazz musicians

If you’re interested in finding out more about this volunteering opportunity please get in touch with Katherine: .

Note: all the great photos of musicians and performers in this post come from Wikimedia Commons, a treasure trove of freely usable media files. 

March 30, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Nationalities of RST grant recipients

Nationalities of RST grant recipients

RST Teal

From April to December 2016, RST provided 619 destitution grants to refugees and asylum seekers. The grants came to a total of £53,919.45, with an average of £87.11. The top three nationalities of grant recipients were: Eritrean (14.7%), Syrian (11.9%), and Iranian (11.1%).

Why do people flee from these countries? Here are some reasons.


  • Prolonged military service under abusive conditions
  • Arbitrary detention and torture during detention
  • Violation of rights to political expression
  • Discrimination against certain religious groups


  • Widespread conflict and indiscriminate violent attacks
  • Destruction of civilian facilities and infrastructure
  • Summary executions and torture
  • Gender-based violence and violence against children


  • High levels of capital punishment
  • Torture and inhuman punishment
  • Violation of rights to political expression
  • Discrimination against certain ethnic and religious groups

More information

For more statistics on RST destitution grants from April to December 2016, see our summary. For more information on conditions in Eritrea, see the reports of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea established by the UN. For more information on the situation in Syria, see the reports of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic established by the UN. For more information on conditions in Iran, see the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Post by Katharine Weatherhead

March 24, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Update from a volunteer

Update from a volunteer

Hi everyone,

My name is Walid from Syria studying ESOL for Work at Glasgow Clyde College I have a degree in English literature back in my country. I started volunteering with RST before 6 weeks and this is my last week. I loved the people here they are very helpful and taught me many things. It was useful volunteering here I did quite a good things translating, filing and other office tasks. And I am happy to involve in the Edinburgh cycling event next Sunday for the charities. At the last week of my volunteering I would like to thank everyone here and at the college who get me volunteering with RST.


Walid Khaly 20170324_120828_resized

March 16, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on RST Newsletter hot off the press!

RST Newsletter hot off the press!


Our Spring Newsletter is hot off the press and includes information about all of our events and activities in 2016, and an opportunity to meet all of our new staff and board members! Subscribers will received electronic and hard copies shortly.

You can find previous RST newsletters or contact us to subscribe to the newsletter on the website.

March 13, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on ELREC Cycles for Refugees

ELREC Cycles for Refugees

ELREC Cycles for Refugee Survival Trust

We’re absolutely delighted that the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) has chosen the Refugee Survival Trust as the charity partner for their upcoming cycle event on 26 March in Edinburgh!

The 6 mile cycle ride, which will start at Bangholm Outdoor Centre and follow the Water of Leith and other cycle paths to Lauriston Castle, will be a fun family-friendly event. There are even a few bicycles available to borrow for those who don’t have their own.

Participants are being encouraged to get sponsorship for riding, with all proceeds going to the Refugee Survival Trust. Even if you are not able to participate, you can donate on the ELREC fundraising page and help them to meet their target of £2,000 to support refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland!

For more information, see the ELREC Cycles for Refugees event page.

February 21, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on New RST referral partners in Edinburgh!

New RST referral partners in Edinburgh!

edinburgh2Asylum seekers and refugees living in Edinburgh will now find it easier to apply for the Refugee Survival Trust’s grant programmes, as two organisations in the city have become referral partners.

Staff at The Welcoming Association and Saheliya will be able to distribute one day Lothian bus and tram passes to destitute asylum seekers, as well as to submit applications for Destitution Grants and Access to Education and Employment Grants.

The Refugee Survival Trust has distributed more than 700 grants to refugees and asylum seekers in the first 10 months of 2016-17, a significant proportion of which were for living costs and essential travel for destitute refugees and asylum seekers. The vast majority of grant recipients were living in the Greater Glasgow area.

Glasgow is currently the only area in Scotland that refugees are officially dispersed to and so traditionally the majority of refugees and asylum seekers live in the city. However, in recent years more refugees have moved to different cities in Scotland, and an increasing number are choosing Edinburgh as their home.

Zoe Holliday, Coordinator at RST said, “We’re delighted that The Welcoming Association and Saheliya are now referral partners for our grants programmes. With an increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers living in areas outside of Glasgow, it is important to make the application process as easy as possible for anyone who needs our help. We will be monitoring applications from Edinburgh with interest.”

Refugees or Asylum Seekers in Edinburgh requiring support can visit:

  • The Welcoming Association (20/1 Westfield Avenue, EH11 2TT) Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Saheliya (125 McDonald Road, Edinburgh EH7 4NW) Monday to Friday from 9am to 4:30pm (women only)