An increasing numbers of refugees visiting our charity are left without almost every basic human need such as food, shelter, a GP or financial support of any kind, denied recourse to public funds, emergency hostels or the right to work.
The Lifeline project began in 2004 and was the first pioneering and holistic response to the problem of destitution for refugees seeking asylum in Scotland.
This project is unique in that it has built up a long standing trust with refugee communities, and has a multi-ethnic and diverse team of staff and volunteers who can communication multi lingually and understand the situation and cultural backgrounds of service users.
The Project provides destitute asylum seekers in Scotland with food, shelter and crisis payments, as well as practical advice, advocacy and support to resolve their legal situation and end destitution.
We aim to provide short term emergency, humanitarian relief. The overall mission is to intervene in the process towards destitution in order to improve the long term prospects of returning to a permanent, safe, warm home with a positive future.
The extent of the support we provide depends on the risk of destitution, and whether we can make a lasting and positive difference to an individual or family’s life in their time of crisis.
Note: The service does not provide unending crisis grants and shelter.
We provide a Hardship Fund which gives out small cash sums for food and essential needs e.g. medicine, urgent travel. In some cases, we will pay for cheap hostel accommodation. We try to provide some form of assistance to everyone to ensure they do not become street-homeless. The Hardship Fund is paid for by donations from members of the public and charitable trusts.
We have a database of accommodation volunteers (you?) who agree to offer up space in their home to someone who is destitute for a few days, weeks, or even longer. We have a system to ensure destitute refugees and their hosts form the best match. Ultimately, this is a purely voluntary arrangement between both parties but we do our best to make the arrangement rewarding for all concerned. We desperately need more volunteers who are prepared to welcome people into their homes.
The Project helps vulnerable people challenge destitution and find hope, self-worth and resolution in their lives. Ultimately, the project makes a difference by giving vulnerable people the breathing space to assess their options and secure the support needed to gain a positive decision on their asylum claim or be granted a type of ‘Leave to Remain’, or to leave voluntarily, if that is their wish by liaising with organisations that can assist with the safe return to their home country.
Caseworkers communicate with solicitors, the newly set up Migrant Help, the private sub contracted asylum landlord Orchard Shipman and non-profit charities to assist service users to avoid or stop destitution. Asylum seekers receive advice about getting back into the system, accessing food, shelter, legal support and practical support like washing facilities, soup hand-outs, warm places to gather in the winter time and the night shelter.
The project provides a service which cannot be provided by the public sector or any other agency, and relies on donations from members of the public and charitable trusts.