16 June, 2020 - By Leyla Williams

Dame Harriet Walter issues West London Welcome COVID-19 appeal for Refugee Week

To mark Refugee Week, West London Welcome patron Dame Harriet Walter has issued an appeal for regular donations to assist with our running costs.

Monthly donations will allow us to keep up with the demands placed on us at this difficult time: our casework is intensifying, and the number of our service-users has doubled. We are supporting some people in our community in every aspect of their lives, from housing, to phone credit, to daily food. For those forbidden from accessing benefits and work, they are depending on our support to meet their essential needs and stay alive. Additionally, we have ambitious and exciting plans for when we open again which your donation could help us realise – more English classes, coffee mornings, a youth club, family evenings, and taking on our first full-time paid staff member for casework and admin.

In her video, Dame Harriet describes how all donations to our appeal are used to directly support the refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who are part of our community at the centre:

Before the Covid19 outbreak set in I would visit the West London Welcome centre on a Thursday lunchtime and be greeted with a heaped plate of delicious food, prepared by the asylum seekers, refugees and volunteers, who had all been working together, exchanging recipes from around the world. I could take part in classes – yoga classes, English language classes, join the book club. I saw how much help was being provided, with people’s financial, legal, and practical difficulties, not to mention the warmth of getting together once a week and socially interacting.

Now that the pandemic has set in, of course, none of that is possible. But I’ve been amazed how quickly West London Welcome have adapted to the new situation, and is continuing to try and meet the needs of their service users. They’ve established socially distant walk-in foodbanks; they’ve been delivering food, nappies and toiletries all across London; they’ve set people up with laptops and WiFi at home; they’ve organised all sorts of online activities, classes, casework support, and informal check-ins and chats, all to keep people connected. Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants need our support more than ever.

The West London Welcome community has striven to support each other during every single day of this pandemic, and if you’d like to help them in that work and can respond to this COVID-19 appeal by making a regular donation, you can make a huge difference to their future. If you can’t manage a regular donation, then a one-off donation would be really welcome. You can find out details of how to donate by visiting http://www.westlondonwelcome.com. Thank you so much.’

To make a donation to West London Welcome, please visit our Localgiving page here.