West End Refugee Service is a registered charity supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Newcastle upon Tyne.
WERS has an excelent reputation for its warm and friendly welcome and the consistently high quality of its services.
Life for asylum seekers in the UK is tough. Many have been tortured, imprisoned or raped in their home country and all have suffered bereavement and separation from family and friends.
The situation is then made worse by the many problems of life as an asylum seeker in Britain. Low income, social isolation, racial harassment, unemployment, prolonged separation from family, difficulties with cultural adaptation and the fear of being returned to dangerous situations if their asylum applications are unsuccessful.
In the early days, negative media reporting, political antipathy, a lack of educational and employment opportunities and hostility from local communities created a climate which did little to aid the integration process of refugees.
Although things have improved, much still needs to be done to create an inclusive and welcoming society which recognises the enormous contribution to the UK that refugees can make.