Our drop in Welcome Centre is closed. Face-to-face meetings are limited to essential only. Welcome Team staff and wonderful team of volunteers, many of whom have lived experience of the…
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.
We stand in solidarity with black people and all who are oppressed and discriminated against. At Bristol Refugee Rights safety, solidarity and action for change are our guiding principles. As an organisation we strive to be led by our members; people who are of an ethnic minority in the UK. We work together for justice.
On 2nd July 2020 Bristol Refugee Rights held a meeting of Trustees and staff in which we had candid and honest conversations about racism. We acknowledge that as an organisation that works with refugees and migrants we are not immune from needing to address racism or diversity especially because our staff team is majority white British and we currently have only white people in senior roles in staff or Board. We have also identified a lack of non-member volunteers from BAME background and a lack of connection to more settled migrants/migrant communities .
We also recognised that the UK immigration system is inherently racist. Racism is systemic and also exists within organisations working with migrants and refugees. We are committed to tackling institutional racism; we are committed to being inclusive to all. Our next steps will be to continue these conversations, to deepen our understanding and working with our members, to draw up an Action Plan. We will do better and will continue to reflect on how we can do this as an organisation.
We recommend reading Colin Yeo’s recent post on race, racism and immigration.