In ‘normal’ times, Bristol provides a net of support for people seeking sanctuary (refugees and asylum seekers) in the city. Since the lockdown, organisations have had to stop face-to-face support and have moved to providing advice and support via the phone and emails.
Smart-phones enable us to keep in contact with friends and family, but many sanctuary seekers don’t have one. People seeking sanctuary are also at risk for a number of reasons; they may be new to the area and lack support networks, some also do not speak English which creates a communication barrier. Whilst asylum seekers are waiting for decisions on their asylum claim, they are not allowed to work and mostly rely on support from charities and volunteers. The voluntary sector is continuing to provide this support, but can only do so via technology such as mobile phones.
This is where you come in. Refugee organisations in Bristol are in desperate need of unlocked smartphones that they can give to their members. A brilliant way to show solidarity during this crisis, donating a smartphone would mean that those seeking sanctuary would have access not only to support, but also would enable them to communicate with friends and family during isolation. Both are crucial during this uncertain time.
If you have an unlocked mobile phone then please mark it for the attention of Bristol City of Sanctuary and post it to The Assisi Centre, Lawford’s Gate, Easton, BS5 0RE. If you have any questions then please email [email protected] or call 07982 136 368
Please also make sure that a phone is usable, i.e. is unlocked, and has a charger with it.
If you don’t have an old smartphone, but would like to help fill the technology gap, then please consider donating to Bristol Refugee Rights’ crowdfunder here.