February 1, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Inquiry into destitution and asylum in Scotland

Inquiry into destitution and asylum in Scotland

Guest post by Katharine Weatherhead

Last week, on 25 January 2017, the Equalities and Human Rights Committee announced that an inquiry into destitution and asylum in Scotland is underway. Let’s look at some elements of the inquiry.EHRC_Logo

What is the Equalities and Human Rights Committee?

It is a committee of the Scottish Parliament. Until recently, it was known as the Equal Opportunities Committee. However, in September 2016, it’s remit was changed. See the Scottish Parliament website here.

What is the purpose of the inquiry?

The Committee states that it “wants to explore the gaps in the response to destitution from Scottish public authorities and to identify where changes could be made to policy, standards and guidance to address destitution.”

What evidence is the Committee seeking?

The Committee is seeking to hear from a broad range of groups with experience of destitution, the asylum process, and related service provision. These groups include: asylum seekers, charity organisations, and local authorities. To see the Committee’s list of desired evidence, click here.

When will the outcome of the inquiry be available?

According to the published timeline for the inquiry, the findings and recommendations are expected to be released in April 2017. Evidence can be submitted up until 8 March 2017.

What does RST do to alleviate destitution?

Alleviating destitution among refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland is one of RST’s core concerns. We provide destitution grants and bus passes as short-term measures when no other support is available. We have also published research on the issue of destitution, outlined in a blog post here.

January 30, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Bike donation sparks a chain reaction

Bike donation sparks a chain reaction

A guest post from Kerr Sproul, who contacted RST a few weeks ago looking to find out more about donating bikes to refugees and asylum seekers in need of transport. This is a little outside of our remit but we were able to connect him with great cycling projects for refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow and Edinburgh like the Govan Community Bike Workshop and Bikes for Refugees. Here Kerr shares some of his reasons for wanting to donate the bike to the refugee community. Bike Bothy
At Heriot-Watt University we’re blessed with an excellent cycling facility, The Bike Bothy which is open two days a week. We have a volunteer who helps out running a Fix Your own Bike service, has a fully equipped workshop, offers bike hire, maintenance classes as well as cycle training.

We were recently asked to deal with an abandoned bike which was left unloved outside the Student Union. We felt it could be reconditioned and then given to someone in need to help them with transport. Due to rising costs in public transport we felt asylum seekers and refugees could benefit from this bike as it would give them low cost sustainable Transport and help them integrate into society.

Recycling the bike we have replaced the Tyres, replaced gear and brake cables, rebuild the rear wheel cleaned and lubricated the transmission then safety checked and test rode the bike. We think this is the best thing to do with abandoned bikes as it reduces waste, empowers people and means there’s more people actively travelling.Bike

Thanks Kerr and all at the Bike Bothy for this donation. We hope the bike and its new owner travel many happy miles together!

While cycling can be a great way to get around the city, it’s not possible for everyone. Transport is a big issue, and Refugee Survival Trust’s bus pass scheme is a lifeline for destitute refugees and asylum seekers who cannot afford to buy their own tickets. Something as simple as access to public transport can be the reason that an individual is able to attend important meetings, go to the food bank, or even meet friends. Being mobile is crucial to the asylum application process and to integration into life in Scotland.

Every pound donated will go directly towards the cost of daily bus ticket vouchers for Glasgow and Clyde and Edinburgh and the Lothians, which cost us £6 each. Refugees and asylum seekers are eligible to receive the tickets if they have no resource to other funds; due to limited funds we give them a maximum of one bus ticket per week.

Contributions to the Bus Pass appeal can be made on our donations page – please mark your donation Buss Pass Fund so we can allocate it correctly.

January 27, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Destitute refugee children in Scotland a growing concern

Destitute refugee children in Scotland a growing concern

Analysis of the destitution grants awarded by RST over the 9 months from April to December 2016 show that the number of children we are supporting continues to increase.

20% of the grant applications over this period included children – 125 cases, supporting a total of 307 children. Of these, 43 of the children were homeless at the time of application.

This is a significant increase from 2015-2016, when we supported a total of 223 children across the whole year.

Co-ordinator Zoe Holliday says “It is unacceptable that any child, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status, should be destitute or homeless in Scotland.

“RST Destitution Grants provide short-term finance to refugees and immigrants who have nowhere else to turn for support. The fact that 20% of our applications now include children is deeply concerning.”

Download our summary of RST Destitution Grants April – Dec 16

January 23, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Destitution in Scotland

Destitution in Scotland

Asylum seekers are at risk of destitution throughout the asylum process, particularly when their asylum claim is refused and their support is withdrawn. An unknown number of asylum seekers live in Scotland, sometimes for years, without income, failing to reach even the United Nations (UN) target on global poverty of $1.25 a day.

Destitution arises because of errors, delays and complexities in the asylum system. A high success rate with asylum appeals calls into question the quality of decisions on asylum claims. However, refused asylum seekers are denied financial support and banned from working. They are left with no legitimate means of support, often with no realistic prospect of return to their country of origin. 21monthlater

To find out more about destitution in Scotland take a look at some of our research publications:

Trapped: Destitution and the Asylum System in Scotland
Research by Morag Gillespie of the Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, commissioned by RST, Scottish Refugee Council and British Red Cross, 2012. Full Report and Summary Report

21 Months 
An update report on ’21 Days Later’, reviewing progress and next steps based on 18 months of RST grants data, by the British Red Cross and RST 2011.  21 Months Later

21 Days Later
A detailed analysis of the causes and extent of destitution in Scotland, based on statistics from 3000 RST grants, by the British Red Cross and RST 2009. 21 Days Later

“What’s going on?”
A study into destitution and poverty faced by asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland commissioned on behalf of RST.  Full Report and Summary Report

January 16, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Thank you!

Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to our winter bus pass appeal – we raised a phenomenal £2,502.00 plus £495.25 in GiftAid bringing the total to…

£2,997.25!

Thank-you-word-cloud

Your generous contributions will allow us to cover the cost of 500 bus passes across Glasgow and Edinburgh this winter.

Our bus pass scheme is a lifeline for destitute refugees and asylum seekers who cannot afford to buy their own tickets. Something as simple as access to public transport can be the reason that an individual is able to attend important meetings, go to the food bank, or even meet friends. Being mobile is crucial to the asylum application process and to integration into life in Scotland.

Every pound raised goes directly towards the cost of daily bus ticket vouchers for Glasgow and Clyde and Edinburgh and the Lothians, which cost us £6 each. Refugees and asylum seekers are eligible to receive the tickets if they have no resource to other funds; due to limited funds we give them a maximum of one bus ticket per week.

These aren’t just tickets for buses – they are tickets to safety for refugees and asylum seekers who have to travel early in the morning or late at night; they are tickets to comfort for those who face long journeys through Scotland’s notorious winter weather; and they are tickets to integration into the Scottish community, all things that we wish for all asylum seekers and refugees this winter.

If you missed the LocalGiving appeal but still want to contribute to the bus pass fund you can find out about other ways to donate through our website – just make a note that your donation is for the bus pass scheme.

 

January 13, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Need to submit a fresh asylum claim?

Need to submit a fresh asylum claim?

We’ve produced two sets of walking directions for people needing to travel to the Home Office in Liverpool:

Home Office from Liverpool Lime Street Station

Home Office from Liverpool ONE Bus Station

We’d like to know if people find these directions helpful, so please feel free to download them and email any comments or suggestions for improvement to DASS_Administrator@rst.org.uk.

January 12, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Migrant Voice Conference Glasgow, 21st January

Migrant Voice Conference Glasgow, 21st January

We’re looking forward to the Migrant Voice Glasgow conference on the 21st January, titled ‘Migrants and Migration Post Brexit; finding our voice to influence the new landscape.’

Photo from www.migrantvoice.org

Photo from www.migrantvoice.org

This event brings together migrant communities in Scotland with experts on migration, equality, activists, artists, academics, the media and others. The Minister for International Development and Europe- Dr Alasdair Allan will be our key speaker.

This will be an action oriented event, with workshops with journalists which focus on how to get migration stories told; opportunities to experience mock up interviews in radio and TV studios; opportunities to understand the process of filming, reporting and challenging hate crime and xenophobia; opportunities to explore the challenges for migrants’ rights and influencing this new landscape.​

This is the first Migrant Voice Conference in Scotland – this event will go to the heart of these issues and explore ways forward and most importantly seek to build alliances and share understanding.

Recent migrants, those from within long established communities with a migratory history in Scotland and those simply seek to engage and support are all welcome to this free event.

After the conference, there will be an early evening schedule where we will launch ‘A Story in a Poem’ project, there will be dance performances by Maryhill Integration Network and a multi cultural ceilidh and delicious food. The poetry launch and evening schedule will take place in the Students Association building.

Date and Time

Sat 21 January 2017

09:30 – 20:30

Location

Hamish Wood Building

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow

G4 OBA

If you’re interested in going along to this event please register here.

December 23, 2016
by rst2012
Comments Off on Buy a bus pass for a refugee! It’s a great stocking filler.

Buy a bus pass for a refugee! It’s a great stocking filler.

We’ve launched a special Christmas appeal
for our bus passDSC_1390 copy programme for refugees! We’re asking our supporters to buy a £6 bus pass for destitute refugees and asylum seekers who cannot afford to buy their own tickets. Something as simple as access to public transport can be the reason that an individual is able to attend important meetings, go to the food bank, or even meet friends. Being mobile is crucial to the asylum application process and to integration into life in Scotland.

Every pound that is raised will go directly towards the cost of daily bus ticket vouchers for Glasgow and Clyde and Edinburgh and the Lothians, which cost us £6 each. We’ll also send you a nifty gift voucher that makes a perfect stocking filler. (If you give anonymously and want a gift voucher, please contact coordinator@rst.org.uk).

Thank you and a very Merry Christmas to you all!