MP moved by refugee stories on charity visit

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Refugees, asylum seekers and British Red Cross staff welcomed Mid-Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham to the charity’s weekly drop-in centre in Derby on Saturday, July 27.

During the visit, Mrs Latham spoke to refugees and asylum seekers including people who had come to the centre because they had no money, clothes or food.

She also sat with caseworkers who were giving advice on accessing housing, health and education services and who were supporting people to trace lost family members.

She said: “It is impossible not to be moved hearing some of the stories about the journeys people have undertaken before arriving in Derby.

“The Red Cross deserve so much credit for their work in supporting asylum seekers and refugees coming to the UK. They are so vulnerable and we should all play our part to welcome them to our community and help them rebuild their lives.”

The Red Cross has supported asylum seekers and refugees in Derby for more than five years.

Staff typically see between 30 and 50 people during each weekly drop-in session.

Askhan, an asylum seeker from Iran, said: “It was good to tell Mrs Latham about my frustrations that I’m not allowed to work as an asylum seeker.

“I want to contribute and be useful to the country so I told her about my volunteering with the British Red Cross and other charities.”

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are, and each centre is part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

Its work enables vulnerable people to recover from such situations and move on with their lives.

Mark Dunn, service manager for refugee support at the British Red Cross in Derby, said: “Mrs Latham was incredibly supportive of the work we do to empower asylum seekers and refugees in Derby.

“It was great for her to see first-hand the issues that asylum seekers and refugees face on a daily basis.”