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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

When is the Welcome Centre open ?

The Welcome Centre is based at the Malcolm X Centre, 141 City Road, St Paul’s, Bristol, BS2 8YH. It is open on Wednesdays 10:00 – 12:30, Thursdays 10:00 – 3:00 and Fridays 10:00 – 12:30

Who is the Welcome Centre for ?

The Welcome Centre is a social space and support service for asylum seekers and new refugees. We have a membership system. If you want to become a member please come to the Welcome Centre during our opening times.  If you are eligible we will give you a membership card and tell you about our services. Otherwise we will aim to signpost you to other services who can help.

Who is eligible to become a member of BRR?

The Welcome Centre is for those building a new life in the UK seeking safety from persecution in their own country. Primarily:
All asylum seekers, including those who have had their claim refused.
Those who have recently been granted leave to remain
Family members joining refugees via family reunion
People who wish to claim asylum but have not yet done so

Can unaccompanied minors use the services?

Due to our insurance and the lack of specific support for youth we can only allow temporary membership to people 16-18 who are accompanied with a support worker or foster carer.

Do you have a translator who speaks x language who can help me/our organisation?

BRR trains asylum and refugee members in basic interpretation for the purpose of supporting staff, volunteers and other members within our projects. The City council has a database of professional interpreters who may be contactable.

Can you help with my solicitor / housing / money / health problem?

We run an Advocacy and Information Desk for our members on Wednesday mornings and Thursdays. Our trained volunteers can assist with a variety of problems which our members would otherwise find difficult to deal with on their own through practical help such as making phone calls or explaining letters, or signposting/referrals to other organisations including solicitors. The AID volunteers are not accredited to give legal advice, they cannot complete legal forms.

Can I make an appointment to see the advocacy team ?

No, we do not have appointments. The Desk operates on a drop in, first-come first-served basis and can get very busy so we recommend that members sign up at the AID table in the Main Hall as early as possible. Sign up is open between 10am – 12 noon on Wednesday and Thursday.

I am staying outside of Bristol. Can you support me by telephone?

No, unfortunately we do not have funding or capacity to offer telephone or outreach support. A list of other organisations that help refugees and asylum seekers can be found here http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Refugee-support/Other-organisations

I am a refugee with leave to remain, can you help with family reunion ?

If you are a member of BRR please see the AID team for referral information about family reunion. We are not legally accredited to give advice on or undertake family reunion applications.

How can I become a volunteer?

We recruit volunteers two or three times a year. Register your interest on the “Volunteer with us” page of this website to join our mailing list to receive notice when our next recruitment session is open. Volunteering roles are daytime only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

If you are a member of BRR and would like to volunteer, please ask in the Welcome Centre.

I want to drop off items for the free shop, what do you need and when can I bring it in?

Please see the “How can I help” page of our website for a list of items which are usually useful. Before collecting large amounts of clothes or bringing a donation to the centre, contact our Welcome Centre Manager to find out how much space we have and what the current needs are. Please do not bring donations to the Welcome Centre when we are closed.

I want to do research about asylum seekers/refugees, can you help?

We do want to help facilitate research which will benefit our members, or refugees and asylum seekers in general. If you have questions for BRR as an organisation please send us an email and we will do our best to answer.

If your intended research involves talking directly to asylum seekers and refugees we always put the needs of our members first. For this reason we submit any proposals for research involving BRR members to our Member Consultation Group who will consider any potential benefits and the steps the researcher plans to take to ensure the well-being of those involved and minimise the extra work for the organisation. Please note that we do get a high number of research requests and have limited capacity.

How does someone join English classes at the Welcome Centre? Do you have spaces in your classes?

You must be a member of BRR to be able to come to our classes (see above). We are not an accredited ESOL provider – we do not have exams, instead we have a rolling programme of English and computer classes and other courses at different levels. Our classes are all drop in and taught by volunteer teachers. Spaces are on a first come first serve basis.

I want to do IELTS exam, could I get help from BRR?

As well as our Entry level ESOL classes, we run IELTS preparation classes. You must be a members of BRR to attend these classes.

Can I visit the Welcome Centre if I’m not a member?

Yes, we have open mornings on the first Thursday of every month from 11 – 12:30, see our Visitors Days page for more information. Please don’t drop into the centre at other times, we are generally very busy during our opening hours running the service and are not able to receive visitors.

Can I get a bike at the Welcome Centre ?

At BRR we have a link with the Bike Project and each week 2-3 people are chosen to go to the Project make a bike which they can then keep.  There is a waiting list for bikes and it takes on average 8-10 weeks before you get to the top of the list.  Applicants need to sign on Thursdays between 12 and 1pm (find the table with the bicycle sign on it).  Then they need to sign in on as many Thursday as they can – each time they sign they gain points that take them to the top of the list.

Is it possible for my child to be in the crèche whilst I volunteer?

Although we would like to support non-members with childcare to enable them to volunteer we are not able to look after your child whilst you volunteer. This is because we receive funding for children of members to use the crèche solely and there is a high demand for places. If you are a member-volunteer please speak to the crèche manager to see if the crèche is suitable to meet your needs.