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We recently have had the good fortune to have a student volunteering with us who has done a survey on our shopping buddy scheme. Asylum Seekers get £36.95 a week on a card (the Azure Card) which does not allow its users to get cash. Not having cash means not being able to ride public transport, shop for cheap clothes in charity shops, or save money (the balance is reset each week). We link up local people with asylum seekers who go shopping together: the sanctuary seekers pays for the weekly shop. Not being able to have cash, and it being illegal to work, makes life as an Asylum seeker extremely difficult in the UK. Never mind human rights violations (the right to work, the right to freedom of movement, to education…and many more…). The survey found:

  • 100% of our users would recommend it our shopping buddy scheme to another,
  • 100% said it is an effective way to help.
  • 85% said they always enjoy the experience (which is more than most for going to the supermarket!)
  • 71% meet up outside of the shopping buddy scheme too, which shows it builds community cohesion and reduces social isolation.
  • The main obstacles were arranging convenient times, places and access to cash.

Thanks to our student for this survey, and helping us see how CoS builds a sense of welcome in Manchester in a variety of ways. 🙂

Could you help make us a more local grassroots supported organisation? Please, consider making small, regular donations here. Everything helps!