The aim of this group is that we provide a coordinated response from within St Thomas in relation to supporting Asylum Seekers and Refugees (AS&R) in the Lancaster and Morecambe district. We work alongside the main groups that interact with asylum seekers in Lancaster and Morecambe District (we have about 150 asylum seekers and refugees at present, some of whom are in the process of bringing their families across if they have secured leave to remain).
The network has a mailing list (email) which is used to inform people within St Thomas Church regarding AS&R activities, donation or accommodation requests, possibilities of getting involved such as opportunities for social interaction and other forms of support - all these activities relate to helping AS&R during their stay in our city. One of the key ways in which we do this is through hosting the Autumn Fiesta event which is currently held annually at St Thomas church.
The Autumn Fiesta is a platform for the lay public to come and meet with the different groups working with AS&R in the district and also an opportunity to meet with AS&R themselves and to fundraise for these different groups.
The key groups we work with are the following:
• City of Sanctuary: umbrella group that represents the interests of all the different groups that work with AS&R across the district.
• Global Link: provides support and a drop-in session at the YMCA building near the bus-station in Lancaster
• East meets West: a cross-cultural group of women that provides a drop-in session for women and young families at the Baptist Church near Dalton Square
• RAIS: welcomes and supports asylum seekers that come to our district by providing a drop-in and legal support
Download a Summary of ways to get involved in supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Lancaster and Morecambe district.
To find out more and understand the asylum seeker process, in order to be able to understand those better who have to go through this system, download this information sheet.
As a step towards this and also building on the Lenten studies which have focused on asylum seekers and our Christian response, we had an information sharing evening at St Thomas church on Wednesday 10th of May 2017. The evening included discussions with speakers who represent different perspectives amongst the key groups that work on this issue in Lancaster and Morecambe. Listen to a recording of the speakers (except the first one) here and download the first speakers comments