Solihull Churches Asylum Seekers Support Group

SCASSG opened the Solihull Welcome Drop-in Centre in 2007, on the initiative of members of St Augustine’s RC Church, supported by Solihull Churches Together, who were aware of the trail of weary and often ill clad and frightened Asylum Seekers going past their Church Hall in Herbert Road to report to the Home Office in Homer Road. The church hall was available on Wednesdays and Fridays and volunteers were recruited from local churches, a practical expression of ecumenism. We now have over 70 Volunteers from a variety of backgrounds, some with useful skills such as languages and experience of living abroad, but all united in the desire to show Christian hospitality and friendship to our Visitors whatever their ethnic group, religion or background.

We have 30-40 Visitors a day coming particularly from areas of conflict in the Middle East, and parts of Asia and Africa. Some are recently arrived, perhaps having been dumped off a lorry at a Motorway Services, bewildered and speaking little English; others may have overstayed the time permitted by their student or tourist visa; some come with small children and may have been in the UK for more than 10 years still trying to get Leave to Remain; they may have been refused despite appeals but cannot return to their war-torn and dangerous countries. Most receive a small weekly payment and limited accommodation in the Birmingham area, but others are destitute; with no income and not allowed to work they depend on friends and charitable organisations.

We welcome our Visitors with a smile and offer refreshments including home-made vegetable soup and left over sandwiches and salads from the day before by Pret a Manger, clothes, toiletries, toys. We do not give money or legal advice but can help with understanding official letters and sign-posting to other useful organisations like :

British Red Cross (Bradbury House, 7 Lowe Street, Camp Hill, B12 0EP.
(Tel: 0121 766 5444).

Restore, c/o Jericho Foundation, 196-198 Edwards Road, Balsall Heath, B12 9LX.
(Tel: 0121 661 4275).

Birmingham Churches Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers, St George’s Community Hub, Great Hampton Row, Newtown, B19 3JG. (Tel: 0121 236 0069).