the Project does
"We welcome refugee and asylum seeker ladies and theire children.
And we help where we can. It's a befriending place really where
we talk to the ladies, play with the children, admire the beautiful
"And we ask them what they would like. If there's anything
that we've got that we can give to them, and that are toiletries,
shampoo, bubble bath, those sorts of things, nappies. Occasionally
we have food that's been donated from somewhere else. And then they've
got two cupboards of clothes to look through. One cupboard of children's
clothes and one cuboard of ladies clothes."
Learning, relaxing and getting out
"At the moment there are projects going on, so that there's
a lady that comes in to cook with them. And today I think they are
making open french bread pizzas with different toppings. And a lady
comes from one of the PCT's and takes three or four ladies for four
weeks and they cook cheap things that they can do at home cheaply.
"Upstairs there's a lady comes in and teaches yoga and there's
a few mums up there doing yoga. And while all this is going on there's
a creche for the children. And there are two creche workers who
come in to take care of the children so that the children can play
together while their mums can do these things.
"The other mums who don't want to do these things sit in the
room and have a coffee or cup of tea and have a natter with their
"Two weeks ago a lady came and took some of them off to the
library to show them how to use the library services. And they really
"And these are things that have started reasonably recently.
Whereas before it was just a drop in centre. I think that the people
that come here are doing their best to help the ladies to integrate
and to help them as much as we can."
How I got involved
"I became involved through a friend who, when I retired, said
she thought I would like to do this. So she brought me a long and
let me have a look. Then I went and did the course. And I started
as a volunteer proper, trained volunteer about February time. And
I don't regret coming. I look forward to coming."
How many women come to the centre
Between 10...I think one week we had 26...but normally it's not
as many as that. But it's certainly a minimum of ten. Between ten
and twenty. And they seem to come each week.
Why women only?
"I think some of these ladies have had bad experiences at the
hands of men. And some of them, in their own culture, because they
are women from different countries, are more isolated. And if we
can just get hold of them with their children, they seem to be the
more vulnerable and the more lonely. And if we can help to build
up their confidence so they can venture out more... because some
of them don't have the privileges that women in England have, basically."
interview in full.