Refugee Action York (RAY) was founded in 2002 and became a registered charity in 2009. Their aims are:
To advance education and relieve financial hardship amongst migrants, those seeking asylum and those granted refugee status, particularly by the provision of advice and guidance;
To advance the education of the public in general about the issues relating to refugees and those seeking asylum.
Before COVID-19, RAY’s work included:
A weekly drop-in (The Hub) for refugee, asylum seeker and migrant families providing English and Turkish language classes, craft activities for children, and an information and sign-posting service;
A weekly youth group for young people from refugee, asylum seeking and migrant families;
A weekly coffee morning;
Outreach with and for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in York.
Since March 2020 RAY has been unable to run any of their usual services. Instead, all their support had to change to being virtual. At the same time, because of a shortage of Initial Asylum Accommodation caused by the pandemic, the Home Office began to house Asylum Seekers in hotels across the UK.
One of these hotels is in York, and RAY began to support the Asylum Seekers living there by collecting donations of clothing, shoes, used mobile phones, and other items to distribute. RAY visits the hotel to give out these donations, offers help with understanding Asylum paperwork, a telephone befriending service, and provides English classes in the hotel in partnership with York Learning.
Through their visits, RAY learned that a number of the Asylum Seekers in the York hotel are talented artists, and wanted to give them an opportunity to showcase some of their work.
We’re delighted to present below a selection of the artworks they have produced.
Refugee Action York (RAY)