My job helps me appreciate the things we often take for granted’


My job helps me appreciate the things we often take for granted’

Stephanie Jones, Destitution Caseworker at JRS gives us an insight into her work

11 July 2023

My job helps me appreciate the things we often take for granted’

Challenging, difficult, rewarding… just some of the adjectives Stephanie uses to describe her work as a Destitution Caseworker at JRS. She says her job helps her appreciate the things we often take for granted—a safe place to sleep for the night, access to secondary healthcare, the right to work, to name a few.

The Destitution Team are the first port of call for people who come to JRS for help. Everyone is welcomed as they are. Everybody’s needs are both different yet similar in many aspects.

Connecting up

The team take a holistic approach as they listen to each person, looking at different areas of their life.

A graduate in International Relations and with experience at the frontline working with people in need, Stephanie admits that even as a Brit, navigating the asylum support system is tricky. JRS supports eligible refugee friends through this system, empowering them to access the support they need and sometimes advocating on their behalf. When refugee friends aren’t eligible for asylum support, a huge issue is homelessness. As such, a lot of time is spent linking up refugee friends with JRS’ At Home hosting scheme as well as other hosting charities and shelters.

Other areas of connection can be made to healthcare, community activities and signposting to other specialist organisations. The Hardship grants of £15 every two weeks, as well as one-off grants in emergencies provide much needed relief, as do the food and toiletries that are regularly available. Help and advice from the legal project can also be life-changing, and this is always given with the wrap-around practical destitution support.

JRS is also blessed to be able to provide befriending, where volunteers call refugee friends every week to provide additional emotional support. This greatly contributes to well-being. Other activities such as creative writing workshops help people find coping strategies and an internal strength to begin their healing process post-trauma without having to relive experiences.

Sometimes, we are limited in what we can practically do as the needs are so great, but a core aspect of JRS’s mission and work is accompaniment. This involves taking time, sitting with refugee friends, helping them understand the available options to make informed decisions. Psychologists say that the impact of trauma is lessened by not going through it alone. So even if certain problems can’t be solved, then simply the ‘being with’ is helpful, and the emotional support of knowing that they are not alone.

[Back to the blog]


Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

Subscribe to our newsletter


Follow Us