Coronavirus: Bristol refugee charity ‘desperate’ for funds

113802752 borderlandsjpg - Coronavirus: Bristol refugee charity 'desperate' for fundsImage copyright Borderlands
Image caption Manager Steve Owen says there is anxiety about the coming recession and the lack of available grant funding

A charity that supports refugees and asylum seekers is fearing for its future because of a drop in donations during lockdown.

Borderlands in Bristol put out a call in March for help to raise £50,000, but it is still trying to hit the target.

Manager Steve Owen said they face the prospect of having to cut services if the money does not come in soon.

One staff member is cycling across the UK to raise funds for the charity.

Borderlands was established in 2011 to support refugees, asylum seekers and those with insecure immigration status with free hot meals, language classes, donated clothing, medical support and free legal advice.

They usually see more than 100 people every week via drop-in sessions at their centre in Easton but they have had to suspend the service since lockdown began on 23 March.

Image copyright Jackson Lapes
Image caption Mr Salgado said he has “never done anything like this before”.

Staff are still providing hot meals and a take-away service, as well as running a telephone mentoring service.

Mr Owen said he felt “anxious” about the charity’s future.

“Ultimately, we have reserves we are using up to continue what we are doing but that isn’t sustainable and already we’ve had to make the difficult decision to furlough staff and make cuts to our budget this year,” he said.

“The intensity of the situation has ramped up and I feel angry that there’s no resolution from the government’s responses around asylum seekers during the pandemic in particular.”

Image copyright Jackson Lapes
Image caption Mr Salgado said: “They rely on donations and do really important work in Bristol for people who are isolated.”

Borderlands drop-in assistant Francisco Salgado, is cycling from Lands End to John O’ Groats with his friend Jackson Lapes, to raise funds.

Mr Salgado said: “I see the impact they have in Bristol, but they are struggling so I want to help.

“I was a bit nervous about the cycle because I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Mr Lapes said: “The charity is important to me because it helps people feel part of society.”

The pair began the ride on Sunday and hope to complete it within 15 days.

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