Barrow community comes together to welcome asylum seekers

Barrow has once again demonstrated its warmth and community spirit, with local groups coming together to welcome people who have been forced to flee their home country and seek asylum in the UK.

Supported by Cumbria CVS, staff and volunteers from groups including Furness Refugee Support Group, Salvation Army, Furness Multi-Cultural Forum, St Mark’s Church and local sports facilities are working together to support our new residents with welcome events, English classes, finding their way around town – and helping them find clothing suitable for the Cumbrian weather!

Kim Farr from Furness Refugee Support Group said “It’s been lovely to welcome the asylum seekers to Barrow. I’ve enjoyed chatting to them, learning about their journeys, and making new friends. There’s such a range of skills amongst them; I’ve spoken to people who are engineers, mechanics and chefs.”

Janine Adams from Furness Multicultural Forum said “There’s been such a positive atmosphere at the events I’ve been to. Although people can’t work whilst they’re in the middle of the asylum process, many of the men I’ve been talking to are keen to give something back to the local community that’s been so welcoming to them, so we’re looking at opportunities for them to volunteer whilst they’re living in Barrow.”

A bowl of food and plate of cakesLt. Jonny Whitmore from The Salvation Army in Barrow said “Barrow is such a generous town and once again the way that the community has embraced and welcomed those who have been placed in our town has been beautiful to see and experience. There’s been such a positive atmosphere at the events I’ve been to. It has been a real privilege and very humbling to sit and listen to the stories and experiences of the men – many of whom have experienced a great deal of trauma but who are still so positive and looking for ways to give back to the local community. My prayer is that they continue to experience a warm and safe welcome and are able to experience peace.”

Sophia Nasreisfahany from Migrant Help, a national charity, said, “It’s amazing how many fantastic activities have been put in place in such a short time in Barrow – it’s really impressive, and I know from our work in other parts of the country that a warm welcome can make a huge difference to asylum seekers, who’ve often had a really difficult journey to get to a safe country like the UK. I’d like to say a huge “Thank You” to the people of Barrow for all the work they’ve put in.”

If you’re interested in getting involved and supporting the activities, search for “Furness Refugee Support Volunteers” on Facebook, and join their group or visit their website

Looking for ways to support refugees coming to Cumbria but not sure how? Make a difference by donating to Cumbria Community Foundation’s Welcome Fund!

Providing a single point for collection of donations from individuals, families, businesses, charitable trusts and other organisations, the Fund assists the coordination of efforts in support of people in need. The Welcome Fund supports all refugees in Cumbria, not just those coming from Ukraine.