The Brain Charity staff went on a team building day to help redecorate Asylum Link's reception rooms in Wavertree recently. Asylum Link is an organisation that assists asylum seekers and refugees in Liverpool and raises public awareness around these issues. Two of our team, John and Moira, took some time out to talk to a few of their members.
When Moira arrived, a very smiley woman called Shaheena helped take her bags and bring in the food. She has been working for 4 years on the reception, which is the perfect role for her as she is really bubbly. One of her favourite things is the multinational community. Many refugees get cut off from their families, so it is great for them to have a group of people they can rely on. Shaheena told us that people use the centre for help with food, shelter and advice. They are often destitute and Asylum Link is their lifeline.
After Shaheena, our staff chatted with Imanishimwe; 10 years ago he came to Asylum Link and later became a volunteer. Imanishimwe has a great sense of humour, which he uses to calm people down when they first come. He tells them about the help available to them like legal guidance, employment support, food and help getting accommodation.
The last person that John and Moira spoke with was Michelle who is a volunteer and, like Imanishmwe, started out as a service user. When she first arrived she was in desperate need of food and clothes, which Asylum Link helped with. A big problem she has faced is people’s attitudes - people look down on you for not having papers; she felt vulnerable.
Seeing everyone eating together reminded us about how vital the time that we spend together is. Having a community is fundamental to our mental health.
Thank you to Asylum Link for letting us spruce up their centre, especially Shaheena, Imanishimwe and Michelle for sharing their stories. We hope that the walls we painted stay bright for a very long time.