Trained volunteers , “visitors”, provide one-to-one befriending and support to local asylum seekers. This volunteer team is led by the Coordinator. Our Support Groups give visitors the chance to talk through problems and share information.
We run a drop-in centre every Friday morning in Southampton. Volunteers on our Help Desk there organise initial assessments for each newly referred asylum seeker, appoint visitors, monitor developments and respond to problems.
We provide one-to-one English language teaching, co-ordinated by the English Teaching Group.
We allocate funds for housing and subsistence to those who are destitute.
Our Legal Justice Group agrees expenditure on legal-related activities, and decides which cases need to be forwarded to our legal advisor for assessment.
Our Activities Groups organise events such as visits, parties or walks for asylum seekers, to broaden their experience of life in Britain and break up the monotony of their lives. Examples include outings to Winchester, walks in the New Forest or by the sea, theatre trips for adults and children, cycling tuition, yoga classes and an allotment.
How SWVG is organised
The trustees have overall responsibility for our work and finances.
Our Campaigning Group plans and manages campaigns to improve the lives of asylum seekers and refugees, drawing from our direct practical experience in Southampton and Winchester. Our campaigns may involve contact with our local MP’s and other political parties, letters and articles for newspapers, going on radio and TV, and joining demonstrations. We participate in campaigns by national refugee organisations where these are relevant to our local issues.
Our Grants Fundraising Group writes bids for grants from charitable trusts, liaises with churches and other organisations who make donations, and promotes charitable gifts from individuals.
Our Events Group organises activities such as concerts, theatrical performances, talks, dinners and sponsored walks to raise funds and awareness of the plight of asylum seekers.
Our Communications Group manages our website and social media presence as well as producing leaflets, newsletters and other materials.
The Training Group provides a training programme for new volunteers. We also provide tailor-made training for visitors and other members in response to their needs. We have provided training for volunteers in other charities who are working with people seeking asylum.