AFRIL is asking you to support the great work we do now and into the future. We run three core services for Refugees and Asylum seekers; A weekly Foodbank, A supplementary School and an advice and advocacy service. This year we have focused on improving all our key services and the infrastructure that supports them. We recently launched our new website – www.afril.org.uk and have a fantastic dedicated and committed team of part-time staff and volunteers that help us to deliver the projects. We have focused this year on updating and reviewing all systems, ready to grow and help more people desperately calling on us for help.
It is the only food bank in Lewisham that focuses on the long-term needs of people from asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds. Our beneficiaries are destitute, often homeless and due to their status, unable to work or claim benefits. All our families have experienced forced migration due to war or persecution and the trauma, grief and loss associated with seeking asylum. Without the support of the food bank they and their children would go hungry on a regular basis.
But the food bank is so much more than a place to pop in and collect a bag of food. It's a place of welcome and friendship and a chance to take a break from everyday stress and struggles. Beneficiaries are greeted with a smile and a friendly welcome from regular staff and volunteers. They catch up with other friends and mums and share news. There is time for a sit down in the warmth, a cup of tea and a piece of toast, a bit of English conversation, a look through our regular donations of pre-loved clothing and shoes, a confidential chat with AFRIL's Advice Outreach Worker and maybe time to join volunteers in the fortnightly sewing or art session. The video below by one of our beneficiaries shows how vital our Foodbank is to the community.
The Rainbow Club
Our supplementary Saturday school for the children of refugee and asylum seekers. It operates in a local primary school and works with children aged 4 -11, focusing on literacy and numeracy at Reception, Key Stage 1 and 2, alongside music, arts and sports classes.
As well as following the National Curriculum the Rainbow Club also runs a number of educational extracurricular activities, including field trips, workshops and end of term celebrations, school fetes, sports days and musical performances.
The Rainbow Club also continues to provide a community for parents and children that is particularly important for refugees who tend to be isolated. Parents are involved in many aspects of the school - eight parents contribute regularly as volunteers, supporting the children, cooking and helping with administration. There is also a regular Parents' Forum where they can meet, establish friendships and discuss aspects of education and other key issues. The short video below from the previous term shows how important the school is to our beneficiaries
Our Advice Service
The Advice Service gives confidential advice on welfare, healthcare, employment, benefits, housing and education. We assist clients to find hosting schemes and emergency accommodation and help to find pro-bono housing solicitors to assist service users who are facing illegal evictions and landlord harassment.
The AFRIL advice service provides support to women in accessing safe accommodation and subsistence support, to ensure that they and their children) are not forced in deprivation.
Whilst we cannot directly offer immigration advice, we are uniquely positioned to guide vulnerable migrants through the asylum process by connecting them to the relevant advice services