Open Collective
Open Collective
Re-jigging, Ramadhan & Reflection
Published on April 16, 2021 by Aym

We worked hard as a community to ensure hot food, clothing, shoes, credit, phones and more were given to hundreds of asylum seekers while Clearsprings ran an unfit for purpose hotel in our town. While the councils, government and basically no one took any action, we can proudly say we did. Now, many of our friends are in more isolated conditions, barracks, hostels and worse. We stay in touch, we refer to other local groups in our network, and we share resources with groups who are now overloaded, like Liverpool Migrant Solidarity.

Since the very first day of the hotel being closed, we have opened our new service: a social foodbank for asylum seekers. We have around 15-20 people coming twice a week, mostly families and mum’s, where the local need in flats has increased greatly. With your help, we’ve provided baby food, a chat, hot food, nappies, fresh fruit and veg, all kinds of groceries and even fitness classes with our boxing club Reading Red Corner. We put on some music, play with the little ones and let mum’s take their time choosing fresh groceries for themselves. It’s a proper community vibe, empowering and inclusive.

Three of the mum’s have children under ten, little balls of energy. The parents were so happy to receive lovely cosy clothes for them, and to be in an environment where the kids can be themselves, choose their own groceries without worrying about stretching a measly asylum allowance. One is pregnant and expecting in May - she’s always offering to help us serve and sort. One young woman messaged us shyly asking if we could find her a washable face mask, so anxious that we would say no - we can only imagine how many broken promises she’s had to endure.

We’ve sourced cutlery, baby and toddler clothes, and where we couldn’t find any of these things, we’ve used the funds you’ve donated to us. If you have a look at our expenses on Open Collective, you’ll see bread, cheese and nappies. 

If you’d like to help:

You can also refer any asylum seeking migrants our way - just let us know!

We're looking forward to a contemplative Ramadhan, and focusing on some lovely celebrations for Eid, so be on the look out for ways to get involved and celebrate with us all.

Solidarity always,
Reading Red Kitchen crew