[to go along or in company with; join in action]
Walking humbly alongside forced migrants lies at the heart of the JRS mission and is an essential ingredient of our service to and advocacy for refugees. It is based on the belief that encounter, mutual relationship and community are fundamental to human flourishing; the solid foundation upon which to support and assist, in practical ways, those who seek refuge in the UK.
"JRS gives me visitors. They are helping me very much. A month ago, I was very stressed. In detention, you don't know if you're going to be released at some point, or deported. One of my visitors brings me movies, it helps to relieve my stress." Paul, detainee
Detainees struggle with isolation from the “outside world”, not knowing how long their detention will last and in fear of deportation. Each one needs help to cope with anxiety and emotional strain. Our team of volunteers provides one-to-one visits and staff are on site to offer pastoral care. We contribute to chaplaincy teams accessed by detainees of all faiths. In the women’s unit, we have delivered specially tailored relaxation and stress management programmes.
Whilst having little control over whether they will be granted leave to remain, or whether they will be deported tomorrow or even where they will be sleeping, each person needs to retain their sense of identity, an ability to make choices and find positive ways to use their time and talents. Using ideas and suggestions offered during consultation with our refugee friends, we have set up peer support groups for men and women, creative writing and photography workshops for self-expression. Several families have enjoyed day trips and help with education.
Helping people view their life from a spiritual perspective is one that is rarely referred to in the midst of interviews, filling in forms and adapting to customs of a new culture. Faith, prayer and an intimate relationship with God are part of the rich inner resources that many refugees bring with them from their country of origin. Frequently this carries them through times of chaos and confusion. Meeting a companion in a safe environment allows the participants not only to tell the story of the unfolding of their lives, but to share their concerns and pray with others in similar circumstances. [Read more]
JRS accompanies forced migrants from around the world. Some seek sanctuary in the UK and so enter the asylum process. During the process, basic statutory support and accommodation is offered, usually outside of London. If the asylum application is turned down, all support including accommodation is withdrawn. Although refused refuge, many individuals and families remain. ‘At Home’ is the name given to the JRS hosting scheme launched in November 2012. Through it we aim to match individuals, families and religious communities that can offer short-term accommodation in their households or communities to destitute asylum seekers in need of respite. [Read more]