Charity appeals for £40k to help women refugees seek asylum in Oxford

The Oxford Times: Antony Kingsley Antony Kingsley

A CHARITY which helps refugees who seek asylum in Oxford has said it needs £40,000 to offer support to women.

Refugee Resource has suffered from cuts and in 2011/12 the Cowley Road-based charity received only half of the public sector funding of previous years.

It has been given funding from Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund but said more cash is needed.

Antony Kingsley, the director, said: “We are able to sustain services but we have had challenging times.

“We are still looking at about £40,000 to help mainly female refugees who come to Oxford from 50 different countries. “The money would go towards training and providing them with support to set up their own businesses so they can contribute economically as well as get on with life here.

“At the moment it would benefit 75 women but if we had more money we could do more.”

Refugee Resource was set up in 1999 as The Oxford Refugee Support Project by Amanda Webb-Johnson who was looking for ways to meet the mental health needs of local refugees and asylum seekers.

It now helps about 250 of the estimated 5,000 refugees who come to Oxford every year. In 2011 the charity lost its £40,000 a year contract to provide counselling, mentoring and employment support to refugees and asylum seekers due to Government funding cuts.

Dr Kingsley said: “Quite a high number of refugees come to the more deprived places around the city. They either get in touch with us directly or are referred to us by people such as GPs.

“It is a huge cultural shift for them. When they come here they hit barriers such as language and they can feel isolated and distressed.

“To help we look at them individually and understand their needs and try to create a work plan or an action plan for them. We look at their emotional wellbeing by having access to counselling.”

In 2011/12 Refugee Resource, which also gets funding from Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, had an income of more than £277,000.

s To donate to Refugee Resource visit refugeeresource.org/?/Make-a-donation and to help with fundraising email info@refugeeresource.org

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