WERS’ Charitable Object is to provide help and support to refugees and asylum seekers in Newcastle upon Tyne and the surrounding area. WERS’ range of integrated services aims to address the social exclusion, poverty, disadvantage, and poor physical and mental health which affect refugees and asylum seekers. All services ultimately aim to help the people we support to take back control and rebuild their lives here.
Information, advice and advocacy provides support to people seeking sanctuary on a wide range of issues which all aim to help individuals take back control of their lives and access the support and opportunities they are entitled to. Material support is delivered alongside this service, through the provision of food and toiletries. Destitution support is provided through our hardship fund, run on donations from the public, provides financial/material support to destitute asylum seekers, who have no access to other forms of financial support, in the form of monthly payments made on prepayment cards. Buddying matches volunteers with refugees and people seeking asylum to provide social connections and practical support through friendship. skillsmatch links the skills and interests of refugees and asylum seekers with opportunities available in the voluntary sector, out in the local community. The Garden Project provides regular opportunities for people to volunteer, socialise, and offer peer support through sessions that improve and develop WERS garden spaces. Raising awareness/influencing/campaigning is delivered through talks, workshops and training sessions in schools and other community settings and through the activity of our campaigns group of people with lived experience of the asylum system. Scotswood Garden Partnership is a new project that aims to increase engagement amongst local refugee communities in the social, volunteering and training opportunities that the local community garden offers. Experts by Experience work encompasses both the campaigns group and advisory panel, which were established in this past year. These groups work with staff and trustees to ensure that WERS projects and activities, campaigning and advocacy work, are shaped by people with lived experience of the UK asylum and refugee protection system.