PAFRAS is the main project in Leeds providing direct support to destitute asylum seekers. All those who attend our drop-in are offered a meal, prepared by our volunteers, snacks and fresh fruit as well as hot and cold drinks. Additionally, at each drop-in we distribute food parcels put together out of the donations of foodstuffs that we receive. We ensure that all volunteers who handle food have food safety awareness training.
So far in 2012 we have provided on average 553 hot meals and 334 food parcels per month to the 682 visitors attending our drop-in service each month. More that 6,600 food parcels for the year. To these figures you still need to add food used in the hot meals we provide; more than 6,500 in 2011. For more details on this visit our statistics page.
The food given out at our drop-in is a vital lifeline for people who have little or no access to food elsewhere. At the same time our drop-in opens a vital social space in which people for whom meeting in a café is unthinkable.
Our aim has been to create a space that service users can feel at ease in and take ownership of. To this end they are encouraged to get involved in running the service, from manning the reception desk to preparing food in the kitchen (more information on this can be found on the volunteering page).
Destitute asylum seekers are one of the most marginalised and excluded groups living in Britain today. Isolated linguistically, culturally and socially, they frequent in a world where rumour and fear over-shadow and often play to great a part in people’s choices. In providing a little for people’s immediate needs, our drop-in also opens a window through which our service users are able find out more about other services they can access.
A range of different services are delivered at the drop-in:
- One to one support for clients with experienced staff and volunteers,
- Advice, signposting and referral provided by experienced caseworkers,
- Mental health support and complementary therapies,
- Social activities and volunteering – opportunities to take part in various activities including conservation, arts and community projects in partnership with other organisations.
The drop-in is held on Tuesdays between 10:00 and 12:30 and Thursdays between 10:00 and 13:20 at St Aidan’s Community Hall, off Roundhay Road, in Harehills, Leeds.