SHARETAWE is a project of Swansea Asylum Seekers Support – Charity No: 1175186
A number of kind individuals donate to SASS/SHARE TAWE on a monthly basis using standing orders. This is of vital help to us as we struggle to secure funding. You can support us with any monthly amount or single donation and ensure our ongoing work.
What does Share Tawe do?
We run a voluntary hosting scheme, asking local households to offer a room in their home for a destitute asylum seeker. Our ultimate goal is to provide sufficient support and security to enable people to focus on gaining the right to stay in the UK.
Why might an asylum seeker be destitute?
When people first apply for asylum, they are given accommodation and an allowance of just over £5 per day. However, many asylum seekers are refused after a Home Office interview. Also, restrictions on Legal Aid, and the difficulty of obtaining evidence often lead to appeals to a tribunal being impossible or unsuccessful. At this point the Home Office will declare an asylum seeker “appeal rights exhausted” and will take away their support they are then left with nowhere to stay, no money and are not allowed to work. With proper legal help, they often go on to prove their case. Share Tawe offers security in this challenging time. Although only 3 guests have been detained during our 8 years of existence, this fear is ever present.
How do we make the scheme work safely and comfortably?
- We interview and take up references on both guests and hosts. We monitor placements carefully.
- Careful placements. We accept that we cannot place everyone who needs us. We aim for a good match between guest and household, considering, for example, gender, family composition and general compatibility.
- Hosts meet guests before placement
- We sometimes ask an experienced host to assess a new guest before placement elsewhere
- We offer support for hosts and guests, and help households find a way of hosting that suits how they want to live.
An Update on Funding
A week’s stay costs anything from £0 to £40 per week. For example: £70 will buy a monthly bus ticket for guests living outside the city centre to go to appointments, sign with the authorities, access drop ins, English classes, and simply live an independent life. £20 per week makes a small contribution to hosting costs – bills, food, etc.
Since April 2017 a salary for a development worker and additional costs have been covered by a 2-year grant from Lloyd’s Bank Foundation. Thanks to an additional grant from No Accommodation Network (Naccom) we hope to continue on current funding until the end of 2019. We are actively seeking grants to give us a longer-term future. In the meantime, donations help us to build long-term security for the scheme.
A snapshot of our activities in 2018
- We hosted 15 asylum seekers and 1 temporarily homeless refugee. 10 had stayed with us in 2017, and 6 were new to the scheme. We welcomed 6 women and 10 men, between 21 and 60, and from 11 different countries. We provided 3061 “bed nights”
- What happened to our guests? 14 moved on from the scheme. Of these, 9 revived their legal case by submitting fresh evidence and were entitled to renewal of Home Office support and accommodation (“Section 4”). One of these has already gained leave to remain, and we are hoping that the others will be similarly successful in 2019. 5 others left to stay with friends.
- Support for guests included: liaison with solicitors; regular support meetings; individual meetings; referral to volunteer opportunities; facilitation of medical and mental health support; a “WhatsApp” group for mutual exchange of ideas, and for highlighting activities of interest.
- 2 guests attended a residential event on community reporting, organised by the No Accommodation Federation, NACCOM. They are now recruiting others and taking part in an IT course to learn how to make videos on their experience. Guests have also been invited to help co-design online training for NHS staff, which will provide information on the experience of being asylum seekers and the effects on their health.
What next in 2019
- Continue this vital work
- Work for the long-term future of the project – which will be 10 years old in 2020
- Continue to encourage guests to be advocates for the work
- Share knowledge with guests which can help them deal with their situation better
How can you help?
- Consider hosting yourself – or with a small group of friends. Contact Hannah Sabatia our development worker to find out more about the project and to discuss whether it would work for you. Hosting can be long or short term; a guest can be “a part of the family” or non-paying, but welcome lodger receiving bed and breakfast
- Donate or raise money
- Invite us to give a talk at your workplace, political party branch, community or faith group
- Talk with us about other opportunities to help – e.g. additional support at times of crisis, help with developing new accommodation models; working on the sustainability of the project.
SHARE TAWE – WHAT WE CAN DO – AND WHAT WE CAN’T!
Share Tawe was set up because we wanted to do something practical about a situation where “refused” asylum seekers were being thrown on the streets with no state support at all – and without permission to work.
Our amazingly generous hosts work miracles between them. We need to do more – and we need people to help us!
WHAT WE CAN DO!
Share Tawe does many great things and we are proud of its work:
- Between April 2018 – April 2019 we hosted 19 asylum seekers and 1 newly granted refugee and provided 3000 plus bed-nights
- We have lots of excellent host and guest “pairings.”
- People really enjoy the experience of eating and living together, sharing ideas and culture etc
- The stability of a bed in a welcoming household helps Share Tawe guests work for a better future – e.g. by collecting fresh evidence for their case to stay in the UK; through volunteering; joining in with local events and organisations, improving their English.
- Every placement is “tailor made” to the particular household. Without hosts, we cannot help people in desperate need of accommodation and we try to make it work for them. Every host is asked to think about what is important to them in their home life – and to find a way of hosting which helps them keep this. Before placement we discuss how it will all work – e.g. privacy; meals; use of the kitchen; when they need “peace and quiet” at night; whether they can offer a few weeks or several months.
- We ensure that guests know what is expected in the household they are joining, and offer support through one-to-one meetings, phone calls, group sessions for guests and hosts.
- We are careful to stress to potential guests that hosts are volunteers within their own homes – and that we cannot make promises on their behalf
WHAT WE CAN’T DO!
We cannot help everyone who needs us:
- Some of the neediest people might not be suitable for hosting – or not be able to fit in to the households we have.
- Sometimes we don’t have enough hosts for the demand.
- Sadly, we sometimes have to ask a guest to leave the project before they have alternative accommodation–for example because a placement has broken down and we don’t think it appropriate to place the guest in another household. (Over 10 years, this has happened only 3 or 4 times).
- We are always sad when this happens, but do whatever we can to help the person concerned.
- If demand becomes much greater, then we may need to prioritise those in most need.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE – HELP NEEDED
Specifically, we need:
- More hosts
- More financial support – e.g. standing orders, donations, or fund-raising for us is crucial. (People have been amazingly generous)
- Help to develop independent housing provision for destitute asylum seekers who we cannot host. Schemes elsewhere have based these on a “cross subsidy model” where newly granted refugees and destitute asylum seekers are accommodated and the rent from refugees (who are on state support) subsidises destitute asylum seekers who have no public money at all.
Please contact us if you can help, or if you want to find out more. We are a small group of people trying to do a vital job!
For more information
Contact Wayne Yare at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07853 717017
(Wayne works Monday and Wednesdays).
Share Tawe c/o Eyst
11 St Helens Road, Swansea. SA1 4AB
Updated March 2020