"It is more than just a bus pass to me, it is an incentive to get out of the house every day. It allows me to take my 1 and a half year old son to the library for the rhyme time every week..."
"I care for my disabled wife... and so this is a lifeline."
"It has made sure that I can get to the hospital."
A bus pass is a simple, practical way of extending a welcome to refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants in Oxford.
These people have come here in search of safety yet many find themselves stranded in a frightening limbo, with no right to work and little or no recourse to public funds. They cannot return to the countries they have fled in such desperate circumstances, and are therefore reliant on the kindness of strangers, at least initially.
They may be living with host families in rural Oxfordshire or on the outskirts of the city, a long way from the organisations that exist to support them. This not only makes it difficult for them to attend vital medical and legal appointments, it can also exacerbate loneliness and make it harder for already traumatised and vulnerable people to begin to feel part of our community. Without money for bus travel, opportunities to attend language classes or take part in work experience may not happen, and parents can find it harder to access children’s services (or even visit the park).
Thanks to the generous support of Oxford Bus Company, we have already provided a number of temporary passes to help people in this position, working with partners at Asylum Welcome, Refugee Resource, and Sanctuary Hosting. We have been moved and humbled by the feedback we have received so far.
A bus pass can make a great difference in an individual life; it is a means of moral and social support. It is a vote of confidence, and also, a key.
Anything you can give will be gratefully appreciated. Thank you.