We know that this must be an extremely challenging time for you, our service users. As most of you are aware, we won’t be running our monthly meetings, support groups or social events during this time and our office is currently closed. However, we continue to offer legal advice, emotional and practical support via phone and email. We are looking into setting up our support groups in virtual form. Please continue to contact us through email, the group chat and the office phone.
In this time it is important you look after yourselves. Please try and:
- Look after yourself from a practical point. Please try and make wise choices with your money. Dried or canned food, rice, fruit and vegetables would be a wiser way to spend your money than on cigarettes, alcohol or convenience food/takeaways, at the moment. They are often cheaper too. Some people have had success at buying groceries in the smaller shops or early in the morning.
- Use the group chats to generally support one another and be positive. There have been lovely messages of hope and humour, and these are very important right now. The messages/links about where this virus came from or herbal folk remedies aren’t helpful right now. What is important is that we get through this and you are safe and looked after. There have been lovely messages of encouragement so please keep this up! Share tips, recipes, fun clips, general info and I will continue to do the same in our group chats.
- For those that are still using saunas and hook-up apps like Grindr, please be mindful that emergency PEP clinics will only be offering a very reduced service, and may well close temporarily. Please look after yourselves and think about possible risky behaviours.
- Ensure that you have enough of the prescribed medicines that you normally take.
- Be kind, have patience and know that many others will try and do the same, too. This is a difficult time but what is becoming apparent is the generosity of community and the many people out there trying to help.
- Be vigilant. There are also those out there looking to use this situation to their benefit.
- Look at the links below.
- In the groups we have spoken about parenting yourself. It may be you have to be the one who looks after you – and every one of you has the skillset to do that, you have demonstrated that when sharing and helping others in our groups.
- Contact us if you need legal or emotional or practical support. We will do what we can. Reach out to us if you are very worried or concerned about your wellbeing – please!
- Do some positive activities: watch comedy, ring a friend, cook or start a conversation on our group chats.
We are so proud of you all. We have seen you grow as a group and nurture one another, embrace challenges/obstacles and find solutions – all whilst trying to navigate the asylum process.
As we sometimes say when we do a group hug at the end of our groups:
- You are cared for!
- You are kind!
- You are important!
UKLGIG Support Services Manager
Useful links and information
Wellbeing/Homelessness/Destitution Services in London – updated on 19/03/2020
Free food services
We have not checked that every service on the above link is running as normal.
Please make contact directly. The links below have informed us that they are continuing to run a service currently.
- British Red Cross Hackney: Food, showers, emergency provisions. Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30am-2:30pm. Hackney Destitution Resource Centre, 92 Dalston Lane, London, E8 1NG, 0207 254 0928
- American Church: Free hot meals – Takeaway only. 10am–12am daily. 79a Tottenham Court Rd, (Entrance in Whitfield Street), London, W1T 4TD, 020 7580 2791
- Barons Court Project: Food, clothing and showers for rough sleepers in Hammersmith and Fulham. Call ahead to make sure services are still open.10:30am-5pm daily. 69 Talgarth Rd, London, W14 9DD, 020 7603 5232
- St Paula’s Church/North London Action For the Homeless: Free food – Takeaway only. Monday 12-1pm, Wednesday 7-8pm. Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7UE
- House of Rainbow: The church provides weekly supplies of free food. No referral letter, no means-testing. All welcome. LGBTQI+ friendly. They also offer general support for LGBTQI+ asylum seekers. Thursday from 2-3:15pm. St Margaret’s church, London, E11 3NG
- Croydon Night Watch: Hot drinks, food, clothes. 9.30 pm daily. Queens Gardens, by Fell Road, Croydon
- Ealing Soup Kitchen: Hot meals. Mondays 7-9pm. Salvation Army Hall, 6 Leeland Road, London, W13 9HH
- Notre Dame de France: Sandwiches – Takeaway only, Saturdays 12:30pm. 5 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BX
- St Patrick’s Open House: Hot meals Tuesdays and Thursdays 7pm. Breakfast Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays 8am. 21A Soho Square, London W1D 4NR
- Akwaaba: Hot meals – takeaway only. Sundays 2pm. St Paul’s Church N16 7UE
Wellbeing phone numbers & links
- Switchboard (LGBT): Someone to talk to from 10:00am to 10:00pm via phone, email or instant messenger. 0300 330 0630 (they will call you back if you don’t have enough credit, and are happy to do so). Email: email@example.com. www.switchboard.lgbt (for instant chat)
- Samaritans (Not religious in any way, this is just their name): Someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Free to call. Phone: 116 123
- Mindout (LGBT): Online instant message support that is non-judgmental and confidential. Open most evenings from 5:30-7:30 and on Sunday 2:00-4:00. www.mindout.org.uk/get-support/mindout-online/
- Anxiety UK: Some articles, links and videos around coron-anxiety, being kind to yourself and dealing with uncertainty. www.anxietyuk.org.uk/coronanxiety-support-resources/
Emergency sexual health services
- 56 Dean Street, Soho: HIV and sexual health NHS clinic in the heart of Soho. They are currently running a reduced service, please call before booking an appointment. Prep/Pep services are still running. Self-testing kits can be ordered online. 0203 315 5656 www.dean.st Self-testing kits: www.deanstreet.shl.uk.
Mutual aid groups
- Covid mutual aid groups: A number of mutual aid groups have started forming across the country in local areas. The groups aim at providing community support to those who are more at risk from the virus: be it help with running errands or cooking. Be aware that many of them run via Facebook and ask you to join the group; you may not want to share your profile with people in your local area etc. https://freedomnews.org.uk/covid-19-uk-mutual-aid-groups-a-list/
- London COVID-19 Mutual Aid, UK Migrant and Asylum Seeker Support: Seb who is the director of Ice and Fire has set this up. https://www.facebook.com/groups/193855082039231/
The Outside Project is running an LGBTQ+ mutual aid group with online socials at 12pm and 6pm every day and a ‘virtual community centre’.
The following services are CLOSED for the foreseeable future:
- Hackney Migrant Centre (only the Drop-in)
- Haringey Migrant Support Centre (only the Drop-in)
- Notre Dame Refugee Centre
- Birmingham LGBT Centre
- London Jesus Centre Homelessness Drop-in
- Refugee Council- all destitution and face to face services