British Red Cross helps asylum seekers without essentials or medicine

The British Red Cross is helping vulnerable asylum seekers who were sent to hotels around the UK with little support or information.

The organisation said they have been giving out essential items and assessing the medical and emotional needs of asylum seekers in hotels in London, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, and near Gatwick.

Local Red Cross volunteers and staff have supported over 450 asylum seekers around Gatwick who are waiting for permanent housing.

This group of asylum seekers were first placed in hotels in Bournemouth around a month ago, after space could not be found in accommodation centres.

Many of these asylum seekers have significant medical needs, but they have not received medication for a fortnight. One of them is a mother who is 35 weeks pregnant. Another is an elderly woman with Parkinson’s disease and mobility difficulties, who needed a wheelchair loan. One Syrian asylum seeker with diabetes has not received medication for a fortnight.

The British Red Cross said many of the asylum seekers lack essential items. Although the asylum seekers receive three meals a day, they have no financial support. This means they cannot purchase even basic hygiene products, such as toothpaste and sanitary towels.

The British Red Cross has been supplying these essentials, as well as items such as nappies and formula milk for the families with young children.

Local Red Cross shops and volunteers have also rallied around to deliver clothes, including socks and underwear.

Rhys Cutler, senior services manager for humanitarian action in Kent and Sussex, said: “We must remember that asylum seekers are people who have fled horrifying experiences in their home countries and have a legal right to stay in the UK while the Home Office processes their asylum application.

“In these hotels we discovered a very real humanitarian need and were compelled to respond.”

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