West London Welcome is open every Thursday for refugees, people seeking asylum, and migrants looking for support and companionship who are based in West London, or able to travel to us.
We operate an ‘as few questions asked as possible’ policy in order that our visitors can feel safe to visit us without having to justify their reasons for doing so, or talk about their immigration situation or histories before they feel ready to. We do not turn visitors away. West London Welcome is a place for the local community to spend time together while eating delicious food, taking an English class, getting advice, joining our book or theatre club, or just relaxing in a safe space.
At the centre we support people with a wide range of immigration statuses and highly challenging individual circumstances. We welcome both families and individuals. Almost all our visitors have trauma from their past experiences, experience profound financial hardship, and live in poverty or destitution. Many of our visitors do not have the right to work in the UK, given that they are seeking asylum and have not yet received decisions on their applications. Our community includes:
- People with refugee status, who have fled their countries of origin because they are at risk of serious human rights violations and persecution there, and who have been granted the right to international protection here, along with the right to work;
- People seeking asylum, who are seeking protection from serious human rights violations and persecution but who haven’t yet been legally recognised as a refugee and are waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim, which can take months or years – and who are legally unable to work while they wait;
- People granted Humanitarian Protection, who do not have refugee status but who have been granted protection here given that they face a real risk of serious harm if they were returned to their country of origin;
- Migrants seeking support, who are not seeking asylum but who have left their country of origin for a variety of reasons including to work, study, join their family in the UK, or leave poverty, political unrest, violence, natural disasters or other situations that have put them in danger;
- Volunteers from the local area, who themselves are from a range of countries and backgrounds.
We at West London Welcome believe that all people, regardless of immigration status or background, deserve human rights and dignity, and that local communities should be at the forefront of supporting those facing profound life challenges related to refuge and migration. We do not believe our visitors should be defined by their immigration statuses. We’re continuously growing as a community to support each another, learn from each other, and have fun together.