22 June, 2023 - By Simon

Refugee Week 2023: Simon’s Story

For Refugee Week 2023, our community member Simon writes about building a new life in West London – and his big news.

As with most things in life, my journey from leaving my home country to being granted refugee status here in the UK has been unpredictable, uncertain, and extremely fickle. From the moment the journey started, all planning went out the window, as every turn was a left.

Outside of a couple of friends that I knew prior to coming here, I did not know a single person. I thought that my time spent in limbo, waiting for my asylum decision, would be lonely and as dejecting and disenchanting as can be.

However, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Here, in west London, I’ve managed to find a community, friends, and people I can rely on when times are tough. West London Welcome played an all-important part in that. I was offered guidance, friendship, and compassion. And through volunteering at WLW, I managed to find purpose during a time where life felt like it had hit a roadblock and come to a sudden halt. A meaningless existence in limbo.

I’ve also branched out from West London Welcome and into other spaces where I’ve made friends who have taken me in, and who I can see the rest of my life being spent in their company. Through them, I’ve become the person I always thought I could be.

I was granted refugee status a few days ago and it still has not sunk in yet. As stressful as it is, it’s not quite as daunting as I thought it would be, and that’s all thanks to the people around me, the loving community that I’ve found myself in, and the family I’ve made for myself.

The moment when I first touched down in Gatwick Airport was a bittersweet one. I thought that my future was vague and undecided but now I’ll have a future to speak of and to look forward to. It’s really only the beginning.