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The Welcome to Leeds project was created to address issues of isolation when asylum seekers arrive in Leeds by matching them with a volunteer who can introduce them to the City.

Read more about the project and case studies in the new booklet.

“I was so full of anger and stress, I just blurted out that there was
no one to help you when you come from a place that is so different. I said there
should be someone to show you– even the basic essentials to survive”

Asylum seekers have often experienced fear, trauma and huge upheaval in the situations they are escaping from. On arriving to the UK they are unfortunately in danger of further upheaval as they attempt to adapt to the harsh conditions surrounding the asylum process while adjusting to life in an unknown city, country and culture. We have seen that new arrivals into our cities and towns can become isolated and at worse destitute, having no idea about basic things like catching buses and connecting with the services or groups which can help them settle.

The Welcome to Leeds project was created to address these issues. A partnership project between Leeds City of Sanctuary, RETAS and the Refugee Council, it matches newly arrived asylum seekers in Leeds with friendly, trained volunteers who introduce them to specialist services, groups and places of worship to reduce isolation and aid integration. Between January 2012 and March 2013 we have successfully matched 85 new asylum seekers from 28 different countries. New asylum seekers feel safer and happier. They are more confident, better informed, and empowered to help themselves and others.

“I am a different person today because of Welcome to Leeds and RETAS. This is not a small thing. They are angels for me.”

You can read more about the Welcome to Leeds project and its case studies by downloading the booklet.

5 simple ways to get involved

1. Like Welcome to Leeds on facebook. Share your thoughts
and experiences.
2. Become a Welcome to Leeds volunteer. Training provided!
3. Host a newly arrived asylum seeker in your home for a welcome meal.
We give you our top tips…
4. Start a fun welcome group for new asylum seekers in your local community.
We can help you with that!
5. Donate to Welcome to Leeds. You can make a real difference to someone’s
life.

For more information contact Candy at [email protected] or pop in and visit us at:
RETAS
Roundhay Road Resource Centre
233-237 Roundhay Road
LS8 4HS
Tel: 0113 380 5630