Across Wessex there small numbers of migrants and asylum seekers. Many have had harrowing experiences in their country of origin and on their travel to this country. They are vulnerable and they continue to have a high level of mental stress that is aggravated by the unwelcome environment created by the Home Office. The disruption in their lives also disrupts preventive programmes e.g. immunisation and the management of long term conditions.
Hampshire hosts refugees predominantly from Syria and now (2022) Ukraine, for whom national arrangements have been agreed. Southampton and Portsmouth are centres where asylum seekers are placed pending decisions about their claims, Portsmouth being in receipt of children that may be unaccompanied. Refugees are also present in Bournemouth in smaller numbers.
Cities of Sanctuary
Thousands of ordinary people around the UK are stepping up to support people seeking sanctuary in our communities. They co-ordinate and support networks that include community groups, schools, universities, local councils, libraries and others to encourage inclusivity, compassion, solidarity and support for.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester have all registered as Cities of Sanctuary. The national site
Forced Migration Network
The University of Winchester is the South's first University of Sanctuary and is a member of the Council for At Risk Academics(CARA). A group of University of Winchester staff and practitioners involved in knowledge exchange, teaching, outreach and support relating to asylum seekers and refugees has established a Forced Migration Network, of which the Wessex GH Network is a member.
Health Needs Assessment
The Wessex GH Network set up a Refugee Health Group to identify the health needs of migrants and asylum seekers locally. Rebecca Wilkinson, a Senior Public Health Trainee, carried a Health Needs Assessment for Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Migrants in Portsmouth and Southampton in 2019. The work involved consultation with over 40 stakeholders and 4 focus groups with asylum seekers.
Executive Summary : Follow this link for the Executive Summary.
Full version : Follow this link to read the Full Version.
The Refugee Health Group also compiled a resource directory of information relevant to refugee health, which may be of use to anyone involved with refugees and asylum seekers.
Follow this link for resource directory.