A small team of volunteers administer the group and manage the practical aspects of the meetings. At any particular session, you are likely to be welcomed and supported by any combination of Philip, Pam, Gareth, Alan, Sam and Alistair.
The range and variety of people who attend our meetings are constantly changing. We regularly welcome new members, and from time to time we say farewell to individuals who have worked their way through the asylum process and are able to move forward with their lives. But, at any one time, you will probably find in our group:
- people from the same country as you,
- people with similar experiences to yours,
- people accommodated in the same town as you,
- people who belong to other groups that you attend or might like to attend,
- people who are looking for friends as much as you are.
Our experience is that the group can help new friendships to begin and existing friendships to grow stronger. This is why we always provide a period of social time at our meetings.
We have found that our group can sometimes be a useful forum for other organisations that are keen to share relevant information with us, or seek to consult us about our views, experiences and insights, or wish to involve us in particular projects that they are undertaking. Some recent examples include:
- involvement with a theatre group who wish to re-tell the real stories of LGBT asylum seekers and refugees;
- a research project looking into awareness and attitudes within black and minority ethnic communities towards HIV;
- a presentation on the work of ASHA (Asylum Support Housing Advice), together with questions on the housing and asylum support issues frequently faced by asylum seekers.
LGBT Foundation teams
Many of the issues dealt with by the group are also relevant to various projects and programmes being undertaken by the LGBT Foundation itself. It is always a pleasure to link with projects which further the work of the Foundation and which also address some of the personal, social, health and wellbeing problems faced by group members.
So, you will probably meet team members from some of the Foundation's own projects as they explain and offer access to the work they are doing on behalf of the wider LGBT community.
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.
- We want to create an atmosphere of trust and so we don't repeat outside the group things we hear in the group.