SWVG is a registered charity (charity number 1103093)
SWVG was founded in 1989. We operate on a purely voluntary basis, organised as follows:
Our Executive Committee has up to nine members who are the trustees of the charity, taking overall responsibility for our work and finances. Read more about our trustees
Most of what we do is planned and managed directly by members, working in the following sub-groups:
Our Visiting Team of over 40 trained volunteers are all engaged in our core work of weekly one-to-one befriending and support to local asylum seekers and refugees. The team is led by the Coordinator and two Deputy Coordinators who organise initial assessments for each newly referred asylum seeker, appoint visitors, monitor developments and respond to problems
Our 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 Groups (one in Winchester and one in Southampton) organise activities such as concerts, theatrical performances, talks, dinners and sponsored walks to raise funds and awareness of the plight of destitute asylum seekers
Our Communications Group manages our website and social media presence as well as producing leaflets, newsletters and other materials
Our Legal Justice Group decides which cases need to be forwarded to our legal advisor for assessment, as well as agreeing expenditure on legal-related activities
Our Money Allocation Group meets monthly to allocate ASSIST funds for housing and subsistence to those who are destitute
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 refugees organisations where these are relevant to our local issues.
Our Activities groups organises events such as visits, parties or walks for asylum seekers. We organise events for asylum seekers, which broaden their experience of life in Britain and break up the monotony of their lives. Activities include outings to Winchester, walks in the New Forest or by the sea, theatre trips for adults and children, cycling tuition, yoga classes and hopefully soon, an allotment
Our Support Groups give visitors the chance to talk through problems and share information
The experienced Training Group provides a Training Programme for all new recruits. We also provide specific tailor- made training sessions for visitors and other members in response to their expressed learning needs. In addition, when requested, we have provided training for volunteers in other charities who are working with people seeking asylum.
We run one-to-one and group English language classes for those who need this support, drawing on skills of SWVG members who have the appropriate training.
In 2017 we took a major step to improve our provision of housing to asylum seekers by renting a house in Southampton to use as a hostel for up to six people. The house has been full throughout and allows us to accommodate those who struggle to find accommodation elsewhere.