March 13, 2017
by rst2012
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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)

February 17, 2017
by rst2012
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New volunteer

20170217_134052My name is Doaa I’m from Iraq; I’m so interested in doing volunteering work as I have not done volunteer work before, so I think this opportunity will be great for me and I’m sure that my skills will be Improved later on. I’m studying a science course so I’m quite good at doing reports and statistics.

I would like to thank Rasha and Katherine for giving me that opportunity.

Kind regards,


February 17, 2017
by rst2012
Comments Off on Hello from a new volunteer

Hello from a new volunteer


My name is Fadol I am from Sudan; I have interest in volunteer work and I did a lot of activity in South and West Sudan with Red Cross organization for 10 months, I studied agricultural engineering in Sudan and I worked in Agriculture Company for 5 years.

I am interested to do normal reports and statistics using Excel program, and also I am interested to do general translation from Arabic language to English. Also I have some experience in First Aid when I did voluntary work for the Red Cross.

I hope my skill will be helpful in the organization and thanks for Katherine from RST and Rasha from Clyde College.

Best regards


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