Refugee Action’s Asylum Guide Network is growing across the UK. With programmes in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, Refugee Action are looking for 15 further organisations to join and offer Asylum Guides within their services. Read more about the plans below, and get in touch with Refugee Action to find out how your organisation could be part of it.

Rooted in the principles of early action, where people can access the right support at the right time to prevent or de-escalate crisis, the Asylum Guide programme enables volunteers to share legal information and support people seeking asylum to be better prepared and able to navigate each stage of their journey.

“I couldn’t do anything before by myself, I couldn’t ring a solicitor, I couldn’t go to meetings, now I feel more confident, I travel to places by myself, I ask my solicitor when I have questions. You helped me when I was in the dark” – Asylum Guide client

Asylum Guides are matched with someone going through the asylum system by language or suitability. The Guide establishes at what stage of the process they are at and gives accurate and consistent information. Many Asylum Guide volunteers have been through the asylum process themselves, and in such instances, personal knowledge, experience and language skills can empower both the person seeking asylum and the guide.

Refugee Action offer ongoing support and training to each organisation that signs up, so they’re equipped to run the programme. The website is easy to use and accessible; it contains support videos, a coordinator toolkit and volunteer toolkit. The volunteer toolkit contains two sets of Asylum Guide briefings. The briefings can be delivered in a one-to-one meeting or to a group, over a series of weeks or in one meeting.

The programme can therefore be adapted and tailored to suit the needs and capacity of each organisation involved. Find out more here.

“I hope many people can get the same help in the future. Many people misunderstand the process, so it would be very good for them to have the same support… The project should be announced publicly for more people to access it.” – Asylum Guide client

Collaboration is key! Refugee Action believe that every person seeking asylum should have the opportunity to meet with an Asylum Guide. To ensure people have the choice to be supported by a Guide and receive appropriate and timely information, Refugee Action hope to work with frontline organisations and community projects to not only run the programme, but develop the content and information Guides use.

If you’re interested in finding out more please register your details online or contact the Asylum Guides National Programme Project Manager, Rachel Ward-Newton