PAFRAS to close one drop-in

PAFRAS Braced for Cuts

We are very sorry to announce that the Board of Trust­ees have taken the dif­fi­cult decision to close our Tues­day drop-in.

Tues­day 15 Octo­ber 2013 will be the last drop-in on a Tues­day for the fore­see­able future. We will con­tinue to offer a drop-in ser­vice every Thursday,  including the pro­vi­sion of case­work and men­tal health sup­port as well as numer­ous other ser­vices through our part­ner­ships with other organisations.

At the Thursday drop-in we will also con­tinue to serve hot meals and dis­trib­ute food par­cels, toi­letries and cloth­ing as well as mak­ing small hard­ship pay­ments for essen­tial expenses such as tele­phone credit or travel to import­ant legal and med­ical appoint­ments. For this we will con­tinue to need your sup­port. If you have a dona­tion that you wish to make after Tues­day 15 Octo­ber please bring it to the Thursday drop-in, 10 AM to 1:30 PM, at St Aidan’s Com­munity Hall (map). If you aren’t able to make it on a Thursday please get in touch and we’ll arrange to receive your dona­tion at the PAFRAS office in Chapeltown.

Long-time sup­port­ers of PAFRAS will recall that in July 2011, when we reduced our case­work pro­vi­sion from two to one drop-ins per week, we had hoped that that would be a tem­por­ary change. Obvi­ously things have not turned around as we quickly as we would like, the Board has made this dif­fi­cult decision now with the aim of secur­ing the longer-term future of PAFRAS. We do still have cause for optim­ism about the future, and, if we have the resources to do so, we hope to (re)expand our ser­vice in the future – the need for it has never been greater.




Posted in News

Fusion: a benefit for PAFRAS










Fusion – a taste of jazz, folk, fla­menco, Africa and the East

As part of our tenth anniversary cel­eb­ra­tions PAFRAS and its sup­port­ers have organ­ised a num­ber of events through­out the year — both inside and out­side of our drop-in.

Fusion are a multi-instrumentalist band  break­ing new ground in world music.  They mix and blend songs and sounds from a vari­ety of tra­di­tions, as well as their own ori­ginal mater­ial, for each per­form­ance draw­ing on a wide range of instru­ments – from jazz per­cus­sion, sax­o­phone, flute, melod­ica, man­dolin and violin, to key­boards, fla­menco and elec­tric gui­tars, bag pipes, cla­ri­net and record­ers, piano accor­dion, Irish whistle, double bass and Arabic lute.

They draw on songs and music from Morocco, India, Greece, Egypt, Hun­gary, Zim­b­abwe, Syria and the Pun­jab, mix­ing melod­ies and moods to forge a new highly ori­ginal sound. Their latest pro­ject has been to explore the songs of the Seph­ardic Jews of 15th Cen­tury Spain, cre­at­ing a haunt­ing new piece with echoes of the Inquis­i­tion….  A new song learnt in Greece tells the story of migra­tion  and a tra­di­tional folk tune from Hun­gary is com­bined with an Indian chant. They recently per­formed at Otley Court House Art Centre and are play­ing at Square Chapel Arts Centre in Novem­ber. So this is a good chance to see them in Leeds.

Fusion have per­formed at Music­Port, the regional world music event, and they are lined up at a num­ber of ven­ues and art centres in York­shire in 2013 . Audi­ence feed­back includes ‘simply stun­ning’ ‘excel­lent’  ‘most tal­en­ted group I have seen in twenty years’.


Posted in Events

New Research On Volunteering

In 2012 PAFRAS col­lab­or­ated with Lora Evans from the Uni­ver­sity of Leeds to take a qual­it­at­ive look at the exper­i­ences of refugees and (refused) asylum seekers of volun­teer­ing. ‘Exper­i­ences of Volun­teer­ing’  presents some of her find­ings in the form of case stud­ies of some of the indi­vidu­als who participated.

Down­load the research here.

Posted in News, Uncategorized

Fundraising Folk — An evening with Robin Fishwick and Friends


Fri­day 12 July, 19:30 — 22.30
Heart, Headingley

Robin Fish­wick (band­camp),  is a local singer, musi­cian and com­poser, play­ing fre­quently at folk and open mike ses­sions in the city. His songs, vary­ing from the wry to the con­tem­plat­ive, often reflect his Quaker values.

He plays a range of wood­wind includ­ing renais­sance instru­ments, record­ers and xaphoon and his stringed instru­ment of choice is the timple of the Canary Islands.

Tonight he’ll be play­ing with local musi­cians Rob Langley (aka Cheb Ghobbi) on the bass and Dibbs Dibbleth­waite on key­boards and woodwind.

The Occa­sion­als

Also per­form­ing are Amyas/Henry “two names are cool” Merivale and Thomas Brouwen (he’s a tall man with a deep voice and when he’s not pluck­ing at a double bass he can be found wield­ing the ukulele).

Rory Scam­mell
Last but not least we have Leeds’ own Hurdy-Gurdy Man per­form­ing on one of the most bizarre instru­ments in folk music! Visit his MySpace

All pro­ceeds will go to Pos­it­ive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers; sup­port­ing des­ti­tute refugees and asylum seekers in Leeds since 2003.

Tick­ets (£5/£3 concessions) available on the door or from ticket source.


Posted in Events

Read ASAP’s response the the government’s latest consultation on Legal Aid here!

In their well argued response to <em>Transforming Legal Aid</em> the Asylum Sup­port Appeals Pro­ject make the moral and prac­tical cases for retain­ing legal aid for migrants of all kinds; includ­ing refused asylum seekers and show how imple­ment­ing the pro­posed changes would lead to many mis­car­riages of justice.

Down­load the doc­u­ment here:

Write to your MP:

Posted in Uncategorized

A Poem by John Taylor


We’re all in it together


What was it that made Great Bri­tain Great
Was it tak­ing riches from oth­ers at a very fast rate
Did we truly believe it was our right
To feel super­ior to oth­ers just because we were white
Or was it that we recog­nised the mis­takes made in our Colo­nial days
By try­ing to atone and put right the errors of our ways
Have we now moved on to become a bet­ter land
Or do we still tend to bury our heads in the sand
His­tory shows it is hard to achieve
A Gov­ern­ment that is open and does not deceive
Why do some politi­cians start out intend­ing to serve
But often end up tak­ing a lot more than they deserve
It is hard to please every­one of that I am sure
What we need is a dis­play of inten­tions which are totally pure
Have things got bet­ter as time has moved on
Or have we now come to wor­ship the evil of Mammon

I am not try­ing to paint a pic­ture which is all doom and gloom
Diversity and equal­ity has been afforded much room
Whilst reces­sion and aus­ter­ity meas­ures are mak­ing things hard
Money’s been found for new retail centres and London’s Shard
Does poverty in this coun­try truly exist
Or has the true pic­ture become clouded in mist
Between rich and poor the gap is get­ting big­ger
But to live a reas­on­able exist­ence how do we cal­cu­late that figure

Whilst many poor people are sink­ing at what appears to be a fast rate
It is where and when you are born that really determ­ines your fate
If we look at third world coun­tries and try to com­pare
It could be said that the cit­izens of Bri­tain have a deal which is fair
Surely it is not just ourselves that we should be striv­ing for
Shouldn’t we also be try­ing to help those flee­ing real poverty and war
Many arrive at a Brit­ish bor­der or port
It is quite often their last chance of hope — the last resort

Escap­ing from oppres­sion, tor­ture, risk of death or much hurt
Arriv­ing at what they think is a safe haven, often treated like dirt
They are looked upon by many as though they come from another planet
In a so called civ­il­ised nation where many dis­play the traits of a gan­net
Many liv­ing here have developed a cul­ture of greed
Whilst totally over­look­ing those who are in des­per­ate need
Thirty thou­sand pounds for one cock­tail in a Lon­don nightclub, I kid you not
Don’t you think some people have totally lost the plot

If you had been born in a coun­try of real poverty or a war torn place
To escape, improve or save your life, wouldn’t you have been at the head of the race
Refugees and Asylum Seekers are human beings just like you and me
But unlike us they haven’t been handed everything on a plate, its plain to see
It’s hard to under­stand why where you were born
Will often determ­ine whether your life will be happy or for­lorn
Surely all human beings have the same basic right
Food on the table, warmth and a bed for the night

Luck­ily some of those who arrive in Leeds
Have some­where to turn for help with those needs
PAFRAS was foun­ded by Christine Majid
Now ten years on it’s a good job she did
Start­ing by giv­ing out food and advice from her car
She never envis­aged things would develop so far
Open­ing a twice weekly drop in at St Aidan’s Hall
She has provided much needed sup­port to many who would oth­er­wise fall

Receiv­ing almost eight thou­sand vis­its a year
The neces­sity for this facil­ity is totally clear
Provid­ing food, cloth­ing, advice and a friendly chat
She has cre­ated a large happy fam­ily; there is no doubt of that
Those who have noth­ing seem the most grate­ful of all
For the little they are given to try and help them stand tall
Volun­teers and dona­tions are cru­cial to ensure the Char­ity sur­vives
As it con­tin­ues to assist oth­ers try­ing to change their lives

There is a lot to be thank­ful for after ten healthy years
But aus­ter­ity meas­ures and lack of fund­ing has raised many wor­ry­ing fears
Without such sup­port, we pon­der, where will our cli­ents turn
Many have no where to live and denied a wage to earn
Some applic­a­tions to remain in the UK have dragged on ten years or more
It makes you won­der what the UK Bor­der Agency was set up for
So to cel­eb­rate PAFRAS a dec­ade on
It is you the pub­lic we must rely upon

If with this poem you feel you agree
I am happy with that and will not charge a fee
If how­ever you feel you would like to donate
To help us raise ten thou­sand pounds, then that would be great.
If you do act because of what I have writ­ten
Then you have gone a small way in help­ing put the Great back in Bri­tain
The Big Soci­ety is what David Cameron thinks he has made
But we’ve been all in it together for at least the last decade

Copy­right by John Taylor 21/04/13

Posted in Uncategorized

No Borders Film Screening

No Bor­ders is run­ning a film screen­ing next week on Monday the 28th Novem­ber. They’re show­ing two films — ‘In This World’ and ‘Those Left Behind’ — from 8.30pm at the Space Pro­ject, 37–38 Mabg­ate Green (

In This World’
88 Minutes — UK 2002

In This World is a 2002 Brit­ish doc­u­drama dir­ec­ted by Michael Win­ter­bot­tom. The film fol­lows two young Afghan refugees, Jamal Udin Tor­abi and Enayatul­lah, as they leave a refugee camp in Pakistan for a bet­ter life in Lon­don. Short on money, lack­ing proper papers, and forced to travel in trucks, lor­ries, and ship­ping con­tain­ers, the two boys find them­selves at the mercy of the people-smugglers who make their liv­ing out of oth­ers’ misery.”

Those Left Behind’
11 Minutes – Scot­land 2007

What is it like to teach in a school where pupils simply van­ish without trace? How do you feel about los­ing your best mate at school, some­thing you never thought could hap­pen? What hap­pens when your neigh­bour of many years dis­ap­pears over night?

Those Left Behind speaks to some of the people who live in Glasgow’s com­munit­ies where people dis­ap­pear – without warning.

Those Left Behind explores the impact that forced deten­tion has upon the com­munit­ies in which Asylum Seekers have settled.

The Vucaj fam­ily lived in the King­sway com­munity in Glas­gow for 6 years, before they were for­cibly removed. This short film gives voice to the people of King­sway, a West Glas­gow neigh­bour­hood, and help us under­stand how deeply integ­rated and import­ant asylum seek­ing fam­il­ies have become in the com­munit­ies in which they have settled. It also allows us to see how trau­matic & dis­turb­ing it is when friends and neigh­bours dis­ap­pear without trace.

Posted in Events, News, Uncategorized

PAFRAS features in Guardian article on IAS Closure

PAFRAS fea­tures in a art­icle on legal aid, the clos­ure of the Immig­ra­tion Advis­ory Ser­vice and access to Justice pub­lished in today’s G2, read it here.

Posted in Uncategorized

IAS Administration Discussed in the Lords

Posted in Asylum Policy, News

Immigration Advisory Service Administration

Almost a year ago we covered in our news­let­ter the col­lapse of non-for-profit legal char­ity Refugee and Migrant Justice. Today the story is reprised for the Immig­ra­tion Advis­ory Ser­vice (IAS).

The demise of the IAS is noth­ing less than cata­strophic for access to justice in the city of Leeds. The firm was con­trac­ted to deliver fully 97.1% of all leg­ally aided asylum work in the city and over 70% of all leg­ally aided asylum advice in West York­shire. Its demise leaves Hare­hills & Chapeltown Law Centre, con­trac­ted to deliver just 52 cases per year, as the only legal aid pro­vider in Leeds.
The IAS’s trust­ees have placed the blame for the organisation’s insolv­ency squarely on the government’s pro­pos­als to remove immig­ra­tion (but not asylum) cases from the scope of legal aid and to cut the pay­ments for legal aid work by ten per cent across the board.
How­ever, since this time last year, sources have been sug­gest­ing to PAFRAS that the organ­isa­tion was on the verge of insolv­ency due to the pres­sures placed on the organ­isa­tion it by reforms of legal aid intro­duced by the last gov­ern­ment.
In Janu­ary of this year we pub­lished a brief­ing on legal aid which noted that the reforms have placed enorm­ous pres­sures on legal aid pro­viders to reduce the amount of work done for cli­ents or to swal­low the costs. Not-for-profit organ­isa­tions like the IAS and RMJ before them, espe­cially because they are reli­ant almost com­pletely on legal aid con­tracts and unable to cross sub­sid­ise unprof­it­able legal aid work have been espe­cially badly affected.
For PAFRAS ser­vice users, many of whom were inev­it­ably cli­ents of the Immig­ra­tion Advis­ory Ser­vice, the firm’s unex­pec­ted and sud­den demise is shock­ing. Ser­vice users who have worked for many months with case work­ers at the firm, patiently sourcing new evid­ence for fresh asylum claims, now face a period of great uncer­tainty, and sig­ni­fic­ant delays while they try to find new legal rep­res­ent­a­tion, for the most part, out­side of Leeds.
For PAFRAS too this will be a chal­len­ging period as we struggle to help ser­vice users secure new rep­res­ent­a­tion and to provide the funds to ensure they can travel to meet their representatives.

Posted in News