JRS-UK reports 160% increase in destitute people seeking help

Jesuit Refugee Service UK has reported a 160% increase in the number of destitute people seeking help.  The increase - to over 100 refugees a week - has meant that JRS-UK has had to move its day centre facilities to new premises in Forest Gate (East London) and Stamford Hill (North London).

At the same time, donations of supermarket vouchers that can be exchanged for cash have almost tripled - from £2,500-worth a month to £7,000.  Voluntary donations, however, are down.

Writing in their latest Annual Report, JRS-UK Director, Louise Zanre, says the increase in destitute people seeking help presents the charity with some considerable challenges.

'With so many people, it is hard to know everyone by name and to remember each person's particular circumstances,' she says. 'The sense of small community and family at JRS inevitably gets diluted.'

Louise also fears some people may end up slipping through the net, especially if they lack self-confidence. 'The sense of abandonment among the refugees is palpable - along with their sense of personal worthlessness.  The ever greater challenge we face at JRS is restoring a sense of dignity and in challenging society to remember and respect the worth of each person here in the UK,' she says.

JRS-UK has also seen a rise in the number of refugees volunteering regularly to help in the office and day centres, according to the Annual Report. 'It helps them feel they are contributing to the work and making a difference in their own way,' says Louise.

In addition to their Annual Report, JRS-UK has also produced a 23-minute DVD about their work entitled JRS-UK: Serve, Accompany, Advocate.  For copies of either, contact uk@jrs.net or phone 020 7357 0974.

Source:  JRS-UK

Share this story