The Bristol Refugee Rights Welcome Centre is a support service and social space for asylum seekers as well as new refugees. The Welcome Centre is at the Malcom X Community Centre…
Bristol Refugee Rights (BRR) was set up as a voluntary organisation in 2006, originally under the name Holding Refugees and Human Rights in Mind, with the aim of upholding and championing the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees.
The Welcome Centre opened its doors in April 2006, at the Unitarian Hall in St Paul’s. Funded by a small grant from Church Urban Fund, it was initially open once a week. Since 2012, the Welcome Centre is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the Malcolm X Community Centre. We have space to offer our full range of services and we regularly welcome 100 asylum seekers and new refugees each day, from up to 60 different countries.
To complement our direct support for people going through the asylum system, we also campaign for the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
A society where refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are welcomed, feel safe, live free of poverty and are able to positively build their lives. A society where everyone’s rights and entitlements are respected.
We work in partnership with others to combat poverty and destitution and to promote social and legal justice:
We will use an EARLY ACTION approach to working with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants; we will focus on preventing and de-escalating crises through the provision of good quality, early advice, support and information using methods which build resilience, support networks and well-being; as an organisation we will provide stability and strive for sustainability.
We empower people; promote inclusion and equality of opportunity through the breaking down of societal barriers:
We will EMPOWER asylum seekers, refugees and migrants by giving them information and confidence to access their rights and entitlements and to build their lives; asylum seekers, refugees and migrants will have opportunities to develop and share their talents; we will provide support for them to learn and develop personal and professional transferable skills through a range of opportunities both within and outside of the organisation.
We ensure the rights and entitlements of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are respected:
We use ADVOCACY to challenge injustice for individuals, and for all asylum seekers, refugees and migrants; members will receive high quality and timely advice aimed at achieving their rights and entitlements and a fair outcome; we will lead and support campaigns for better treatment and for a fairer society; we will never accept the status quo.
Bristol Refugee Rights’ members are people currently in the UK asylum process, or who have recently been granted refugee status. We aim to deliver them a ‘user-led’ service that addresses the practical, psychological and human rights needs of refugees and asylum seekers.
The key values that underpin the work of Bristol Refugee Rights are:
We work to sustain these values both in the Welcome Centre, and in our human rights campaigning.
Too often people seeking safety in the UK are forced into poverty and crisis. Cuts to legal aid mean it is often impossible to access the vital representation and advice needed to navigate our complex asylum system. Organisations that provide help to people seeking asylum have become predominately crisis driven, helping people who have already fallen into poverty and destitution.
The Early Action Charter for People Seeking Asylum Programme is an attempt to help more than 3,000 people seeking asylum to better understand the system, and thus prevent them hitting the crisis point. The programme is a three-year partnership between eight frontline organisations including Bristol Refugee Rights.