Covid-19 and us
When the first lockdown happened on 23rd March, none of us realised it would last this long but we did realise that we had to do more than just shut up shop and wait for it to go away. That feeling is still with us. The majority of asylum seekers and refugees we support live in the 10% most deprived areas in the country. Most are very, very, poor. We didn’t want to run out of money but we did want to support them as much as we could during this terrible time.
So our plan was very basic – find ways of gathering enough money to see the people we support through and do more for them on a day to day basis.
Freedom from Torture (Manchester) have taken the same approach and requested all sorts of everyday items for the refugees and asylum seekers we support and for some we haven’t supported up to now. The list is a long one. To date we have supported 35 families/single people referred to us by Freedom from Torture. We have been able to buy, or in some cases, use donated items – an iron, a sewing machine and accessories, baking equipment a baby walker and stair gate, a cooker, bedding and warm winter clothing. Many needed clothes to exercise – trainers and running trousers were important to several people, and many children received outside and indoor toys – an important issue for families locked in together for weeks with few resources. We have also bought food for several families.
To date this has cost £4800.
During the summer we had a cake and pottery stall, and a plant and bric a brac stall which helped increase our funds.
More recently, we have started to supply duvets and pillows to survivors. So far we have supplied 24 families or single people with 15 tog winter duvets and pillows. The orders are still coming in from Freedom from Torture.
Where any of these items could not be delivered straight from the shops, or if they were donated items, we have personally delivered them all over Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Bradford.
We have always collaborated with other charities where there is a need and this year is no different.
We have delivered food and personal items around Manchester for the Lesbian Immigrant Support Group.
We also organised crowd-funding on behalf of the Lamet Habayeb Association for Arab women, a total of 25 families in Rochdale. You raised £700. Thanks to your generosity we were able to supply them with 51 duvets of all sizes and 15 pillows. The remaining money went on food for these families. This has all been delivered by us.
Thank you to both Weighsted and Valley Organics in Hebden who supplied bulk food at cost and to VK Homeware who gave us a special deal on bedding. Last but certainly not least thanks to the Todmorden Food Bank who regularly supplied us with food for survivors and various supporters who gave toys for the children.
In terms of Survivors of Torture Activity Fund (STAF) funds, whenever we asked you to help, you did. Thank you.
During the course of the year we have received a Lottery Coronavirus Community Support Fund grant of £2,000 and two smaller grants totalling £750. At the end of March 2021 The National Lottery granted us £5,000 to continue our work.
Of course every time Leisure Centres open, we support 31 people at an average of £25 per month. This means that each month the Leisure Centres are open we support 31 people to the tune of £775. We have around £120 per month of regular donations and we would very much like to build this up. If you would like to help please go to the Donate page.