I started to work with City of Sanctuary in January 2016 as an English teacher. I was CoS ESOL coordinator for five years. However, from September 2021, due to the success and growth of the charity, my role will change and I will be responsible for the pastoral care of our ASRs.
What City of Sanctuary project(s) do you support?
I welcome new ASR arrivals and signpost them to CoS partners. I support individuals and their households with specific needs. I make myself available for questions and concerns, overseeing the oversee the football sessions, liaise with the Tara Centre. I liaise with the CoS ESOL teachers and one-to-one volunteers if there are any problems with students etc.
I will probably organise Christmas Hampers, Ramadan boxes and free meals during Ramadan for fasting Muslims again. I also oversee our two CoS WhatsApp groups where asylum seekers and refugees find out about English classes and events of other CoS partners and in Lancaster.
What do you enjoy most about your work with CoS?
It’s very hands-on work and gives practical solutions to the problems and concerns of our asylum seekers and refugees. It makes a big difference to people’s lives.
How does the work you do and your project offer essential support for the asylum seeker and refugee community?
When people arrive in Lancaster they often don’t know all the offers of support we have here. Also, they often don’t know who to turn to if there is an unexpected emergency and it’s out of office hours. As I know most asylum seekers and most houses, I can easily connect people and offer support in one way or another. Folks feel more easy to ask for help if they know the person rather than going to an office.
Is there anything else you can tell us about yourself and your work with CoS?
I’ve worked with and supported Amnesty International all my working life and supporting local asylum seekers and refugees is a practical and real way of working for Human Rights.