Action Foundation has unveiled its winter appeal to help support vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers through the cost of living crisis.

Our Warm Hearts Appeal is being supported by our friends at the Aviva Community Fund through their Cost of Living Boost, meaning every donation made is doubled, which will have twice the impact.

More and more of the people who approach Action Foundation for help are experiencing severe difficulties directly associated with the soaring costs of basic shopping basket items.

For example, Heshu, a mum-of-two seeking asylum after fleeing Iraq, recently came to our InterAction Drop-in, asking if we could help her find nappies and baby milk for her baby girl.

InterAction Drop-in Manager, Yvonne Cheung, said:

“Asylum seekers and refugees have always come to us for advice around legal claims, help with homelessness and other issues like how to find a GP, but we are noticing that more and more people are struggling with trying to live on what they get from the Government, which is just £5.83 per day.

“We’ve had parents coming in because they’re unable to afford baby formula and clothes for their little ones, it’s absolutely heart breaking.”

Action Foundation’s InterAction Drop-ins welcomed 922 people through their doors in the last year, 381 of those classed as ‘regular attendees’.

Yvonne added:

“The need has never been greater. I’ve heard people say, ‘Well, why don’t they just get a job?’ but what many people don’t realise is that under the Government’s current rules, asylum seekers are banned from working for at least 12 months after applying for asylum. So they can’t just ‘go out and find work’.

“I’ve heard others say, ‘Well, they all get free hotel accommodation and free food.’ But again, some of that accommodation is far from five star luxury and some of the food is not nutritious and sometimes not culturally appropriate. Clients aren’t always able to get help from some of the food banks either because of this misconception around the quality and quantity of food provision in initial accommodation.

“I hope people will give generously to Warm Hearts. I know the North East is full of warm-hearted people and I hope this campaign will raise awareness about the issues our clients face coming to a new country.”

As well as our two weekly Drop-ins in Newcastle and South Tyneside, Action Foundation provides free English classes; a Digital Inclusion project to help people get online safely and warm housing for destitute asylum seekers and for refugees who have just been granted asylum.

You can find out more and donate to our Warm Hearts Appeal here