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Statement from Southwest Immigration Alliance

RSD's Christmas 2023 appeal

Refugee Support Devon (RSD), together with other partners, has supported over 600 newly arrived asylum-seekers and refugees in 2023, mostly in temporary hotel accommodation in isolated locations.

As Christmas approaches, RSD has launched a Christmas Appeal in the hope of providing a warm and more dignified Devon welcome.

New arrivals find themselves in a completely unfamiliar and sometimes hostile environment. They are expected to manage day-to-day practical issues such as sending their children to school, registering with local GPs, dentists, and often mental health services, as well as navigating their way through a complex asylum process.

Funds raised by RSD’s critical Christmas Appeal this year will help purchase ‘welcome packs’, for people who often arrive in Devon in just the clothes they’re wearing and flip flops. The welcome packs will contain essential toiletries, underwear, a warm jumper, stationery and other basic items. Donations to the appeal, if successful, could also cover a range of other items, such as materials for art, craft and games, food items, provisions for new-born children, transport costs for activities and connecting with the local community - and much more.

The cost of a welcome pack is around £50, depending on the gender and age of the recipient. The charity hopes to raise £5,000 to purchase around 100 welcome packs.

Refugee Support Devon’s Manager, Rupert Blomfield, said: “Just imagine what it would be like to arrive in Devon from a completely different part of the world, having come to seek safety. You’d be facing the challenges of a completely different language and culture, incomprehensible processes, and only a small weekly allowance to live on per person. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t find that incredibly challenging. We’ve got to find a way of making things just a little bit easier for people in that position."

One RSD client said, “Refugee Support have helped me and my children since we first came to Devon. They have been there for us making us feel welcome, helping me to get my children into school and gave us a phone and sim card. I know I have someone to talk to.”

Another client explained, “It is horrible when you have to flee your own country and everything that is familiar to you. But every refugee coming to the UK should get RSD support.”

Donations to the appeal, if successful, could also cover a range of other items: materials for art, craft and games, food items, provisions for new-born children, transport costs for activities and connecting with the local community - and much more.

To support RSD’s Christmas Appeal, please click here. Thank you!