On Tuesday Emma visited South Tyneside Asylum Seeker and Refugee Church Help (STARCH) at their weekly session at Living Waters Church. STARCH offers advice and support to refugees and asylum seekers living in Shields, as well as providing clothes and children’s toys donated by residents.
Emma spoke with those attending and found that services for refugees are being hit by Government cuts. In particular, cuts to English language classes are making it difficult for many to integrate into British life, find work and live independently. The Coalition Government’s welfare changes have also meant that the support services these groups rely on are becoming more difficult to access because there is so much demand. STARCH report that their own workload has increased in the last two years.
STARCH is the oldest organisation of its kind in the North East, having been founded in 2000.
“STARCH is a great organisation that reaches out to some of the most isolated people in our community. The people I met were eager to learn English and make a new life for themselves and their families in the UK, but the Government does