We are in need of items for men for our Welcome Box project!
If you can help, please contact [email protected]
The aim of the Welcome Box project is to welcome new asylum seekers to the City of Portsmouth and to signpost them to sources of help and advice. All new people seeking sanctuary are given a Welcome Bag, containing a welcome greeting card and local information. It also contains essential foodstuffs, toiletries, as well as a few treats. The contents of the Bag are put together so that it is bespoke to the individual – whether it be for an adult, teenager, or child. They are delivered to asylum-seeker families in the city soon after they arrive.
In the financial year 22/23 (to date) 295 Welcome Bags have been provided to individuals and families across the Portsmouth and Gosport area. The delivery of Bags has also created the opportunity to assess the quality of clients’ home accommodation and respond (where possible) to requests for further items, such as household equipment and bedding.
Funding for the Bags has been assisted in the past by a small grant from the Abri Community Fund and income from the sale of the book Clued-up Walks on Portsea Island. Currently, the funding for this project is from Portsmouth City Council.
With the arrival of over a hundred asylum seekers at a Southsea hotel early last year, the provision of shoes and clothing became a major area of activity for the Welcome project. This involved the collection of items from individuals and from corporate donations, then sorting and distributing in bespoke Bags. A free clothing ‘giveaway’ takes place on a monthly basis, both at the Refugee Sanctuary Hub and the Hotel. We also recycle unwanted/returned items at future giveaways or local charity shops.
The Welcome team also works with EMAS* and HIVE to provide, restore and recycle school uniforms for migrant and local children. The team is currently in discussion with St Margaret’s Church in Eastney, to find a way to provide a joint community ‘clothing bank’ that our clients can access directly.
Members of the Welcome team make regular visits to the Hotel and attend the Refugee Sanctuary Hub on Mondays, to assist both new and existing clients. The team provides help with a range of activities at the Hub, including reception, befriending, child play, and, sometimes, even the washing up!
If you would like to support our Welcome Box project please do get in touch!
With thanks to the Welcome team, Carol and Mary, for their fantastic work.