Cumbria Welcomes Asylum Seekers

This week Carlisle will be welcoming a number of asylum seekers. These young men have gone through traumas of war that no one should go through. They have left everything behind, including their families, friends and country due to wars, ethnic cleansing and persecution.

Knowing how kind, welcoming and supportive our communities are, spare a smile for them. They deserve dignity and respect to be able to rebuild their lives. They have very little except the clothes they arrive in.

They will be able to move freely around the city yet have no money, are not permitted to work, cannot speak English and do not have access to any benefits or financial support. We have yet to find out what languages they speak.

This is how you can help.

Donate items at drop-off points –
They are in need of: men’s toiletries, hair clippers, good quality clothing in small/medium sizes, footwear, underwear, jackets.
Old laptops, tablets, smartphones and USB drives.
Entertainment items like dart boards, footballs, cricket equipment, home gym equipment, games consoles with games in working order (handheld or television).

Drop off points – Weekdays at Cumbria Voluntary Services – Shaddongate Community Resource Centre, Shaddongate, Carlisle CA2 5TY Phone: 01768 800350

All University of Cumbria Campuses at Reception – Fusehill Street Carlisle, Brampton Road Carlisle

Volunteer Opportunities for the Asylum Seekers through any organisations and community groups.

Multi agency approach.

Only a week’s notice was given to authorities to expect young male asylum seekers to come on Monday 4th April, who will be followed by a further numbers.

Statutory bodies and the third sector organisations are working together to find solutions to support and engage with them.

Working to support these men are Multicultural Cumbria, Carlisle Refugee Action Group, Carlisle One World Centre, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Voluntary Services, Cumbria Police, Carlisle City Council, North Cumbria CCG NHS, and several others that we will add later.

An asylum seeker is somebody who has applied for refuge in another country but has yet to have their request answered. Upon approval, the person seeking asylum will become a refugee. International law states that any person has the right to apply for asylum in a country that has signed the 1951 Refugee Convention. They also have the right to stay there until the authorities have assessed their claim.

Asylum seekers must adapt to a new country and language while facing uncertain futures. It can take years to successfully claim asylum – leaving people unable to plan their future and move on from the trauma that caused them to leave their home. There are a number of reasons why a person may have to leave their home. It could be due to war, violence or persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

In recent years, the subject of asylum seekers has been a common subject of discussion in the media. This group has been negatively represented and a great deal of myths have formed about them. Below we have created a list of common misconceptions and the truth about these claims.


Asylum seekers come to claim benefits.

Most asylum seekers arriving in the United Kingdom know nothing about the benefit system before they arrive and did not hold an expectation of financial support.

Asylum seekers are not eligible to claim benefits. They are entitled to a place to live – a flat, house, hostel or bed and breakfast. The person can not choose where they live, and the housing provided is often a substandard, ‘hard to let’ property.

The only entitlement asylum seekers have to benefits is the asylum support service. The financial support given to asylum seekers consists of £40.85 per week per person. This works out at £5.83 a day. The majority of people seeking asylum live in poverty and experience poor health and hunger. Many are unable to afford basic items such as clothing and baby formula.

Asylum seekers are entitled to NHS healthcare. They are may claim free prescriptions, dental care, eyesight tests and assistance paying for glasses – along with other people on a similar income.

Asylum seekers take British jobs.

The Government doesn’t allow most asylum seekers to work while their application is considered. This is because entering the country for economic reasons is not the same as seeking asylum, so the two must be kept separate. This means asylum seekers are forced to rely on the state’s asylum support service.

Asylum seekers are all men.

The journey to the United Kingdom is risky and often deadly. Women and children face an extremely high risk of sexual abuse, violence and exploitation on the route to a safe country – much more so than men. Because of this, the men in a family will often travel alone, the women and children remaining at refugee camps. Once the men have been granted asylum, their families can follow in a much safer way.

Our country is full of refugees and asylum seekers.

The United Kingdom is home to around 1% of the 26.4 million refugees across the world.

In the middle of 2021 there were 135,912 refugees, 83,489 pending asylum cases and 3,968 stateless people in the UK. This is out of a total population of over 67.1 million.

This country has a highly controlled asylum system. In 2020, only 41% of initial decisions resulted in asylum or some other form of protection being granted.

Asylum seekers lie about their age.

In many cases, people genuinely will not know their age. Some countries do not celebrate birthdays and do not keep central records of births and deaths.

These people have left everything they know behind for a chance at safety in Cumbria. We hope you will join us in welcoming them as they begin their new lives as members of our community.