First Wednesday

- a support and social group for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people seeking asylum


At the heart of our group's work are our regular meetings at the LGBT Foundation where we discuss topics, learn from experiences, and share information of particular interest to LGBT people seeking asylum. Additionally, the group has occasionally been able to undertake a few special projects and excursions thanks to the grant funding and donations that we receive for the work we do.

Notes and lists of resources from our sessions are emailed after each meeting to all who attend the goup. These can usually be provided to partner organisations on request. Just get in touch via the email address given on our home page.

Here are some of our activities to give you a flavour of what we do.


December 2017

learningWe enjoyed three informative presentations before sharing some food together at the end of another year of achievement within the group.

1. What happens at an HIV test - Sincere thanks to Patrick and Peter from the Sexual Health Team at the LGBT Foundation for their information about exactly what is involved in the rapid testing for HIV, together with their practical demonstrations on the speed and simplicity of obtaining the blood sample needed for the test itself.

2. A coding course (HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.) based in Manchester aimed at people seeking asylum or with refugee status - It was a pleasure to welcome Anna Holland-Smith from CodeYourFuture who gave a presentation on the coding course which is available in Manchester from early in the New Year.

3. Words in an asylum case which can cause problems - Philip gave a brief presentation sharing some experiences around particular words in an asylum case which can cause problems. He looked at:

  • Name order
  • "Relationship"
  • "Bisexual"
  • "...and that's when I became gay/lesbian"
  • "The LGBT Foundation"

November 2017

Drop In This was the sixth of our meetings in the new drop-in format. These take place in alternate months and run from 3.30pm to 6.15pm in the Conference Room as usual. There are no formal presentations, and are an opportunity for anyone to call in at any time between 3.30pm to 6.15pm for:

  • refreshments,
  • wifi access,
  • social time and the chance to make new friends,
  • conversations with our facilitators,
  • information and links to useful resources,
  • referrals to other organisations.

October 2017

information We followed our 'Presentation Meeting' format this month and received two presentations from guest speakers:

1. Black History Month

Sincere thanks to Ali Cooper from the LGBT Foundation for his presentation on local events and activities relating to Black History Month, which is commemorated in the UK each October.

2. A barrister's experience of immigration and asylum cases

We were very privileged to welcome Dr John Nicholson as a guest speaker at our group. John is one of the leading barristers specialising in immigration and asylum law in the Manchester area. John took part in a structured question and answer session covering a range of topics relevant to our group members, including:

  • What is a barrister, as distinct from a solicitor or a caseworker?
  • Do private fee-paid lawyers get better results than legal aid lawyers?
  • What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​principles​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Home​ ​Office’s​ ​own​ ​guidelines​ ​on​ ​sexuality​ ​asylum​ ​cases?
  • What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​commonest​ ​problems and mistakes​ ​at​ ​the​ ​asylum​ ​interview?
  • What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​commonest​ ​problems and mistakes​ ​at​ ​the​ ​appeal​ ​hearing?
  • How​ ​should​ ​someone​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​their​ ​appeal​ ​hearing?
  • Who​ ​makes​ ​a​ ​good​ ​witness?
  • What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​possibilities​ ​if​ ​refused​ ​at​ the ​appeal​ ​hearing?

There was also time at the beginning and end of the meeting to welcome new friends and old, to chat, ask questions, take photos, and share social time together.

September 2017

Drop In This was the fifth of our meetings in the new drop-in format. These take place in alternate months and run from 3.30pm to 6.15pm in the Conference Room as usual. There are no formal presentations, and are an opportunity for anyone to call in at any time between 3.30pm to 6.15pm for:

  • refreshments,
  • wifi access,
  • social time and the chance to make new friends,
  • conversations with our facilitators,
  • information and links to useful resources,
  • referrals to other organisations.

August 2017

information We enjoyed four informative sessions:

1. Virginie Assal, the Women's Programme Inclusion Officer at the LGBT Foundation, gave a presentation on an inclusion project aimed at lesbian and bisexual women who are also black, Asian or ethnic minority, or transgender, or older (50+).

2. Gareth Hazzelby, from the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, gave a presentation on Legal Aid and explained what it covers and when and whether it is available for immigration cases.

3. Philip Jones gave a short presentation, based on guidance from the excellent Right To Remain Toolkit, on how to prepare for visits to the Home Office Reporting Centre whenever there is a risk - or fear - of being detained. Philip emphasised that being a 'reporting buddy' for a friend is the role that any of us can easily undertake for someone who has a reporting date coming up - but it needs some advance preparation.

4. Marenka Vossen, from British Red Cross, explained the range of services offered by her organisation to refugees and people seeking asylum. These include advice and information, emergency support, English classes, meeting people and making friends. Services are free and are delivered at venues and hubs in Bolton, Leigh, Beswick, Gorton, Oldham, Rochdale and Salford.

July 2017

Drop In This was the fourth of our meetings in the new drop-in format. These take place in alternate months and run from 3.30pm to 6.15pm in the Conference Room as usual. There are no formal presentations, and are an opportunity for anyone to call in at any time between 3.30pm to 6.15pm for:

  • refreshments,
  • wifi access,
  • social time and the chance to make new friends,
  • conversations with our facilitators,
  • information and links to useful resources,
  • referrals to other organisations.

June 2017

information We enjoyed three informative sessions:

1. African Rainbow Family  - Aderonke Apata, the leader of African Rainbow Family, spoke and shared publicity items about a workshop scheduled for the 21st June, 0900-1700, at Methodist Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester. M1 1JQ.

2. Philip gave a presentation on the importance of creating a detailed and accurate timeline of the key facts in an asylum case - dates, times, people and places. He highlighted:

  • The damage caused by inconsistencies across asylum documents, interviews and statements.
  • The need for consistency and accuracy between what you say and what your witnesses will say.
  • The need to prepare notes and statements as early as possible as the time gap between interview and appeal hearing is often only a few weeks.
  • A simple, proven methodology to gather together and apply a systematic structure to the details of your case.

3. IDAHOBIT 2017 - Alistair Cooper, from the LGBT Foundation, shared some images from the IDAHOBIT celebration - International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia - held on 17th May.

May 2017

Drop In This was the third of our meetings in the new drop-in format. These take place in alternate months and run from 3.30pm to 6.15pm in the Conference Room as usual. There are no formal presentations, and are an opportunity for anyone to call in at any time between 3.30pm to 6.15pm for:

  • refreshments,
  • wifi access,
  • social time and the chance to make new friends,
  • conversations with our facilitators,
  • information and links to useful resources,
  • referrals to other organisations.

April 2017

learningWe enjoyed two informative sessions. Firstly, it was a pleasure to welcome Shaan Knan from the Rainbow Pilgrims project who spoke about the project which explores narratives around ‘rites and passages’ and examines links between faith, sexuality, gender and ethnicity by using oral history, film and photography.

Secondly, Andy Braunston gave a presentation on gathering good evidence for LGBT asylum cases. He highlighted:

  • Why you need evidence
  • What could be evidence
  • Helpful and unhelpful statements
  • Evidence from organisations
  • Helpful and unhelpful photos
  • Social media content

March 2017

Drop In This was the second of our meetings in the new drop-in format. These take place in alternate months and run from 3.30pm to 6.15pm in the Conference Room as usual. There are no formal presentations, and are an opportunity for anyone to call in at any time between 3.30pm to 6.15pm for:

  • refreshments,
  • wifi access,
  • social time and the chance to make new friends,
  • conversations with our facilitators,
  • information and links to useful resources,
  • referrals to other organisations.

February 2017

informationAndy gave a presentation on Brexit. He highlighted:

  • what the European Union actually is,
  • the referendum leading to the Brexit decision,
  • Article 50,
  • why people voted to leave,
  • why people voted to remain,
  • how Brexit is being implemented,
  • some likely effects,
  • possible implications for immigration policy.

January 2017

Drop In This was the first of our meetings in the new drop-in format. These take place in alternate months and run from 3.30pm to 6.15pm in the Conference Room as usual. There are no formal presentations, and are an opportunity for anyone to call in at any time between 3.30pm to 6.15pm for:

  • refreshments,
  • wifi access,
  • social time and the chance to make new friends,
  • conversations with our facilitators,
  • information and links to useful resources,
  • referrals to other organisations.

December 2016

information We enjoyed three informative sessions:

1. HIV Awareness Workshop - It was a pleasure to welcome Peter Bampton, the Services Support Officer at the LGBT Foundation, who delivered a presentation looking at:

  • What’s the difference between HIV and AIDS?
  • Who is affected by HIV?
  • How does HIV work?
  • How is HIV transmitted?
  • How can we protect against HIV?

2. 'Right To Remain' Toolkit - Philip demonstrated how to access the online version of the excellent toolkit which 'Right To Remain' have compiled and which deals with every aspect of the asylum system in the UK. Philip highlighted the particular value of the section on the Asylum Interview (as this is something for which lawyers sometimes do not adequately prepare their clients), and the section on Detention (as the recommendeded preparations can make a huge difference to the support which can be given by friends if the worst happens).

3. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - Philip gave a presentation on a theory from the field of psychology which shows that unless basic human needs for food, shelter, safety and self-esteem are being securely met, it is not possible for the higher needs of love, relationships, understanding, beauty and self-fulfilment to be achieved. Philip suggested that the asylum system keeps people in the survival and insecure levels at the bottom of the hierarchy and so keeps them in a permanently vulnerable state.

November 2016

learning Philip gave a presentation which looked at how the photos we create can support our LGBT identity and can become useful evidence in asylum claims. Some of the items he covered were:

  • What story does the photo reinforce?
  • Have you taken account of your appearance and the surroundings?
  • Do the images affirm the timeline of your case?
  • How can a photo communicate the intimacy of a relationship?
  • Getting others involved in building your collection.
  • Storing, managing, organising, improving and captioning your images.
  • Critical questions an outside observer may ask.

October 2016

learningWe enjoyed two informative sessions. Firstly Michael Cullen, from the research team at the LGBT Foundation, gave some background about a Core Group which the Foundation are setting up to look at what life is like for LGBT people living with a combination of complex needs.

Secondly, Andy Braunston gave a presentation on how asylum seekers can work most effectively with their legal representatives. He looked at:

  • the distinctions between caseworkers, solicitors, and barristers;
  • how to check whether your lawyer is legally accredited as a caseworker or solicitor;
  • what you can expect from your lawyer - before you claim asylum, if it is granted, if it is refused, if your appeal is refused, and if you are detained;
  • and how you can help yourself so that your lawyer has the best evidence to work with.

September 2016

informationWe enjoyed two informative sessions. Firstly, Jawad, Jessica, Lee, Emma and Fabiola gave a series of presentations on the range of health, wellbeing,community safety and women's programme services that are available to the LGBT community via the LGBT Foundation.

Secondly, Sebastian Aguirre gave a presentation about the activities of the Actors for Human Rights group who work within the Ice and Fire Theatre Company. Sebastian is seeking to introduce the experiences of LGBT people seeking asylum into the performance resources of the theatre group and was seeking expressions of interest from anyone at First Wednesday who may be prepared to recount their story (with full anonymity), have it transcribed, and then allow it to be re-told by a professional actor at the Ice and Fire performances.

August 2016

learning Lee gave a presentation on various opportunities for access to classes, online learning resources, libraries, archives, and free computer facilities, all of which are freely available to everyone. 

It was also a pleasure to welcome Geoff Gosling from 2CV Research who was asking for our help on the research project that his company is undertaking on behalf of Public Health England - a national UK health promotion body. The research is looking into awareness and attitudes within black and minority ethnic communities towards HIV.

July 2016

discussion Two presentations were given at our July meeting. Andy Braunston went through the process, and possible implications, of the recent referendum which resulted in a decision by the UK to leave the European Union. And then Tony Openshaw looked at some of the changes for people seeking asylum which various parts of the Immigration Act 2016 may bring into force.

June 2016

discussion Two presentations were shared at our June meeting. Philip gave a presentation on the elements that are needed in a letter or statement of support if it is going to be convincing for a Home Office decision-maker or an Appeal Tribunal judge.

Some of the topics Philip covered were:

  • The problem of proving you're lgb or t.
  • The need for detailed and specific information - about the writer, and about the person being written about.
  • What has worked well for others.

It was a pleasure to welcome Claudia Carvell from the LGBT Foundation who gave a short introduction to the work of the Foundation's Women's Programme and highlighted ways that members can become involved.

Some of the topics that Claudia covered were:

  • Who the programme is aimed at.
  • The services and workshops offered by the Programme.
  • Events and how to receive the monthlly Women's Bulletin from the LGBT Foundation.
  • How to make the programme aware of your own needs and interests.

May 2016

learning Andy gave a presentation on the European Union with particular reference to the coming referendum. Some of the topics Andy covered were:

  • Where is the EU?
  • What is it?
  • How it came into existence and grew in size.
  • How it works.
  • Referendum issues.

The subject of who has the right to vote in UK and European elections received a few questions at the meeting, so we have tried to clarify the position. 

According to various pages from the Electoral Commission website (here, and here) the following  can register to vote in all UK elections (including UK Parliamentary general elections).

  • British citizens,
  • citizens of the Republic of Ireland,
  • citizens of Cyprus and Malta,
  • citizens of Commonwealth countries who have leave to enter or remain in the UKor who do not require leave to remain in the UK,

Additionally, EU citizens who are resident in the UK are not able to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections, but can vote in:

  • European and local elections in the UK,
  • elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies (if they live in those areas),
  • Greater London Authority elections (if they are registered in London),
  • and some referendums (based on the rules for the particular referendum).

According to the AboutMyVote website (here) the following will be eligible to vote in the June 23rd referendum:

  • a British or Irish citizen living in the UK,
  • a Commonwealth citizen living in the UK who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK,
  • a British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years,
  • an Irish citizen living overseas who was born in Northern Ireland and who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years

April 2016

discussionIn view of the continuing number of new members attending the group who are currently pursuing asylum claims, Philip led a discussion which went back to basics and looked at the kind of strong and convincing evidence that is needed for an asylum claim and any subsequent appeals where sexuality is a major factor in the claim.

Philip covered a number of kinds and sources of evidence relating to: your own witness statement; statements and oral evidence from other witnesses; partners, lovers and relationships; integrating with the LGBT community; photos; medical evidence; home country information.

March 2016

learningAndy gave a presentation on Human Rights in the UK arising from the main provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and how these can be used to protect the human rights of all who live here. A link to his presentation was included in the Notes of the Meeting which were emailed to all who attend the group meetings. A copy of his presentation can be provided on request.

Andy also explained that you can check online whether someone claiming to be a Solicitor, or an authorised immigration adviser, is actually qualified to practise. If someone claims to be a Solicitor, you can check their status via the website of the Law Society here. Or, if someone claims to be an asylum caseworker or immigration adviser, you can check their status with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner here. It is a criminal offence for anyone to claim either of these statuses unless they are registered and in good standing with these organisations.

February 2016

learningLee gave a presentation on the basic skills and principles involved in applying for jobs and attending interviews with particular reference to:

  • Personal details required
  • Employment history
  • Other useful evidence of activities
  • Why you want the job
  • References
  • The effect of your asylum or refugee status
  • Interview basics
  • Body language and behaviour
  • Likely questions
  • Promoting your skills and aptitudes
  • Online link to an example of a bad interview
  • Online link to an example of a good interview

January 2016

learning Philip gave a presentation on how an appeal hearing is conducted in an Asylum Court, so that those who have an appeal pending will know what will be expected from themselves as the appellant, and what to expect from their lawyer, the witnesses, the Home Office Presenting Officer, and the Judge.

December 2015

discussion Andy gave a presentation on how the use of social media for friendships, contacts. locations and images can contribute to a person's lgbt identity. Specifically in the case of Facebook. the following areas are worth some attention and investment of time and effort:

  • A recognisable Profile, even though a second account under an alternative name and a restricted list of friends may be necessary for privacy reasons.
  • Photos, showing a range of locations, friends and activities, over a wide time period.
  • Timeline events which show involvement in LGBT community events and interests.

November 2015

discussion In the first session of the afternoon, Andy Braunston introduced the support work he undertakes for the First Wednesday group. This includes:

  • ideas about evidence for an asylum interview;
  • putting you in touch with good legal representation;
  • working with you on ideas for a good Fresh Claim;
  • ideas about an anti-deportation campaign.

In the second session, it was a pleasure to welcome Tony Openshaw for a presentation on the work of ASHA, together with questions on the housing and asylum support issues frequently faced by asylum seekers.

October 2015

discussion In view of the number of new members attending the group who are currently pursuing asylum claims, Philip led a discussion which went back to basics and looked at the kind of strong and convincing evidence that is needed for an asylum claim and any subsequent appeals where sexuality is a major factor in the claim.

Philip covered a number of kinds and sources of evidence relating to: your own witness statement; statements and oral evidence from other witnesses; partners, lovers and relationships; integrating with the LGBT community; photos; medical evidence; home country information. And as we were fortunate to have people in the group who have been successful in their asylum claims, we also drew on their experiences of what worked well for them.

September 2015

discussion Andy led a discussion which looked - not too seriously - at the question 'Just how gay are you?' Picking up on the problems occasionally encountered in asylum cases when a person's true or apparent sexuality has not always been entirely clear-cut in their past,

Andy looked at the work of Alfred Kinsey which analyses sexual orientation on a scale of seven levels ranging from 'exclusively heterosexual' via 'bisexual' to 'exclusively homosexual'. Our discussion considered whether this approach to sexuality matched our own experiences and whether it helped to explain some past confusions and complications around our own sexuality.

August 2015

learningLee gave a presentation on the meditation and relaxation technique known as 'mindfulness' and explained how the techniques can help with times of stress, worry, restlessness and sleeplessness.

Mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment-by-moment. It helps us to gain an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen. It grounds us in the present moment – it stops our mind racing ahead and creating thoughts and situations that don’t yet exist. It can help us to learn to stop feeling stressed or anxious and so we can begin to enjoy our life and the world around us a bit more. It can help us to learn to recognise unhelpful thought patterns and therefore, over time and with practise, it can help us to get control over them. It can help improve our mood and sleep. It improves our wellbeing – evidence shows that what we do and how we think has the greatest impact on our wellbeing.

July 2015

learningAs a way of filling in some background about the city we call home, we spent time watching a few videos about Manchester's history, including its growth in size and prosperity during the Industrial Revolution as a result of its climate, the inventiveness of its engineers - especially its canal builders and its water and steam power pioneers - together with its proud political past.

We then had a picture quiz where we tried to name famous buildings and places around the city. This was fascinating as we recognised "The Lowry" at Salford Quays, but who was 'Lowry' after whom it is named? And we recognised Manchester Cathedral, but what is a 'cathedral'? We even tried to place Manchester on a map of the UK, not entirely successfully - most of us put Manchester either where Carlisle is, or where Birmingham is!

big day out southportLater in the month, a group of us spent the day in Southport enjoying the sights of this attractive seaside town and attending the 'Big Day Out' celebration of the United Reformed Church. The British summer unexpectedly gave us a warm sunny day, and the trains ran on time!

southport big day out

June 2015

learning We received two presentations at our meeting this month which, between them, focused on opportunities for new skills and knowledge, offered a creative new means of personal expression, and looked at ways of ensuring that incidents of victimisation, aggression or violence against people in our communities are properly reported.

Firstly, independent radio producer Sean Mullervy explained his proposed project which seeks to create podcasts that reflect the lives, experiences and emotions of lgbt asylum seekers. People involved in the project will receive coaching in various audio production techniques and skills, and will have their finished work promoted via a website and, possibly at public listening events. Sean and his colleagues are still finalising the funding for the project, but hopefully work will start on it later in the summer. Sean is looking for up to 6 participants, and received 9 expressions of interest from people in our group.

We also received a brief presentation from Jessica White (the Community Safety Manager at the LGBT Foundation) accompanied by Lee Mackintosh (the Co-ordinator of the Village Angels) sharing information about hate crime and how to report it.

May 2015

discussionOur discussion looked at how the UK election system for the House of Commons eventually (we hope!) brings about a functioning government for our country and we considered some of the pollsters' predictions for the outcome of the voting on May 7th.

We also heard about a proposal from a radio production team to offer members the chance to be involved in a series of training workshops on the compilation, editing and final presentation of 'radio diaries' about the day-to-day lives of lgbt asylum seekers and refugees. These will then be broadcast via a project website and may be used at one or more live listening events. We hope to receive a full presentation from members of the production team at our June meeting.

April 2015

discussionRecalling that the group identified religion as one of the principal sources for homophobia, the group discussed three particular stories from the Bible - Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, and the Centurion and his boy - and considered whether gay/lesbian relationships between the characters in the stories can be discerned, taking into account the culture of the times at which these stories were compiled.

March 2015

discussionAt our March meeting we made suggestions for enhancements to the group's new website. We also held a discussion into the causes of homophobia, thought about the effect it has on society, and considered the contrast between lgbt life in the UK and how things are in the countries from which our members come.

February 2015

discussionIt was a pleasure to welcome Moses Kayiza as the guest at our February meeting. Moses spoke to the group about his own asylum campaign which ran from 2004-2005 and in which many support groups, including The Metropolitan Church, were heavily involved. You can see a Manchester Evening News article from 2005 about Moses' case here.

After Moses had told his story, the group discussed the advantages, as well as the risks, of running a public campaign similar to the one which Moses ran in order to obtain wide support for his case.

November 2014 - Windermere

fw at windermere centre 2Thanks to the generosity of The Windermere Centre, members of our group were able to spend two days and nights exploring the beautiful Lake District. In addition to the wonderful hospitality and fellowship we shared at the Centre, we visited Bowness, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, and Furness Abbey.

Autumn 2014 - Music Project

music projectFunded by a grant from the Hilden Charitable Fund, some of our group members worked with music workshop leader Sarah Atter with the aims of sharing music, making music together, reaching a new audience, expressing gratitude to the church which administered the project, and raising awareness of the situation of asylum seekers.

Sessions included exploration of music making, singing, percussion, improvisation, instrument making, composition and song writing. A performance on 29th November was the result of that work and sought to express and explore the ideas which came up during the project. The performance was recorded and the songs, in mp3 format, can be heard via the following links:

(All rights in this material are reserved. Enquiries about the use of any of these works should be referred to us via the contact details on our home page.)

July 2014

learningAt our July meeting, Philip led the group in a detailed look at the Right to Remain campaign toolkit.  Thanks to everyone for the excellent discussion around these quite emotional and frightening scenarios which are not easy to face up to, but for which preparation is absolutely vital in case the Home Office suddenly opts for detention or seeks removal.

We were challenged to identify people who would campaign on our behalf if we were detained.

  • Do they know we want them to do this?
  • What resources can we offer them - what do they know about us?
  • Do they know how to contact the rest of our friends and supporters, etc?
  • How public a campaign do we want it to be?

All these factors - and more - need to be prepared and put in place as soon as possible, and continually built upon so that if Home Office intervention occurs, things can be swung into action.

April 2014

learningPhilip led the group in looking at the basic principles of the Facebook social networking site. He emphasised the advantages social media offer to people who are seeking to make friends, to support and enhance their existing friendships, to enable easy communication, and to demonstrate integration into the lgbt communities by uploading photos of themselves, their friends and their partners within the lgbt life of the city, and by tagging themselves when they appear in other people's photos.

February 2014

discussion At our February meeting we were delighted to welcome as our guest Chief Superintendent Caroline Ball from Greater Manchester Police. Caroline was keen to hear members' perceptions of the police in this country as well as their experiences of the police in their home countries. She recognised that negative experiences of the police in home countries, often involving corruption, abuse and violence, will affect asylum seekers' expectations of how they will be treated by police here.

After listening to views and experiences from group members, Caroline offered her reassurance that asylum seekers can expect the police in the UK  to protect and to serve them in exactly the same way as every other member of the community. And any asylum seeker who becomes a victim of crime in Greater Manchester can report the incident to police and can expect to be treated fairly, honestly, and with respect and dignity.

December 2013 - Christmas Markets

christmas marketWe put on our warmest clothes for a wander around the Christmas Markets which are held each year in Manchester's Albert Square, and then headed to the Richmond Tea Rooms for warm drinks.

August 2013 - Llandudno and Conwy

fw at llandudnoThe weather was kind for our day out to Llandudno, with lunch on the beach, a brisk stroll along the promenade and pier, a drive up the Great Orme, and a visit to the historic fortified town of Conwy across the river estuary.

July 2013 - unHeard Voices

unHeard VoicesUsing recyclable cameras, some members of the Group were asked to create a photographic record of aspects of their lives over a two week period. Jean François then spoke about his pictures and Glory wrote down her thoughts as she went along. 

Glory speaks with enthusiasm about the everyday things she notices around her. The enjoyment they give to her and how they remind her of her faith in a God that loves her. Jean-François speaks of the psychological struggle that is the life of an asylum seeker. His, at times, slightly cryptic comments are an indication of the level of thoughtfulness that he has put into this work.

The photographs and comments can be viewed at  unheardvoices.metropolitanchurch.org.uk/

June 2013

learningTriona Buckley led the group in a sessiion looking at techniques for clear and assertive communication.

April 2013

discussionThe First Wednesday group held its first meeting on Wednesday 3rd April 2013 and, despite not getting much publicity out, it was well attended.  We got to know each other, thought about what we wanted out of the group, laughed, discussed the basic ground rules for the group, laughed some more, and enjoyed ourselves.

Future Plans included:

  • To learn about assertive clear communication.
  • To have a trip out to the seaside.
  • To have a presentation about safer sex from an organisation particularly working with Black and Ethnic Minority People.
  • To cook a meal together.
  • To learn about the Home Office guidelines for assessing sexuality in asylum claims.
  • To go the cinema.
  • To explore ways to encourage friends and supporters in the writing of statements and letters of support.
  • To record and video activities, interviews, etc. to use on a website to spread news of the group to others.

Andy gave a presentation on the main provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and how these provisions can be used to protect the human rights of all who live in the UK.

Respect ourselves and each other
  • Keep to time.
  • Treat others as we wish to be treated.
  • Listen to and pay attention to each other.
Be realistic about what we can afford and who we are 
  • We will provide travel expenses for the Full Meetings which take place in alternate months. We will try to cover, or to make a contribution towards, the cheapest possible travel ticket for asylum seekers only. We can't provide travel expenses for the drop-in sessions.
  • We can't provide alcohol or food or direct grants of money to people.
  • We recognize that this is a group for asylum seekers. The facilitators attend to administer the meetings but not to lead or determine the direction of the group.  Non asylum seekers who come along do so in order to support asylum seekers where appropriate.  
Be confidential
  • We want to create an atmosphere of trust and so we don't repeat outside the group things we hear in the group.

FW rainbow flag

Coming Events

Next Monthly Meeting

 

The next meeting of the group will be on Wednesday 3rd January 2018, from 3.30pm until 6.15pm, at the LGBT Foundation.

 

Theme: This will be a drop-in meeting with no presentations.

Meetings

Meetings of the First Wednesday group take place at the LGBT Foundation from 3.30pm to 6.15pm on the first Wednesday of each month. From 2017, the monthly meetings will alternate between Full Meetings and Drop-In sessions - see Home page for full details.

 

The LGBT Foundation is located within the Gay Village in Manchester city centre at Number 5, Richmond Street, Manchester M1 3HF. There is a map towards the bottom of this page on their website.

 

We try to make being part of the group as cost-free as possible for asylum seekers, and so we aim to provide basic travel expenses to cover the cheapest possible ticket which will enable an asylum seeker to attend the Full Meetings of the group which take place in alternate months. These expenses are always subject to the limits on the budgets within which the group has to function, and may be affected by the number of people attending our meetings. Additionally, in the case of extended journeys, especially those from outside Greater Manchester, we may only be able to offer a contribution towards travel costs rather than full reimbursement. Note: we are not able to provide travel expenses for the Drop-In sessions.

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