The NNLS Destitute Asylum Seekers Drop in was set up in March 2006 as a project of the New North London Synagogue (NNLS) to offer support to a very vulnerable group seeking refuge in the UK.
The project began with just one asylum seeker and a small number of dedicated volunteers, who offered help and support in line with the charitable aims and objectives of NNLS.
Growing numbers of asylum seekers and volunteers heard about us through word of mouth and via referral from other organisations. Gradually the numbers attending, and the services offered, have grown. Each session now attracts more than 100 volunteers from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. These include doctors, lawyers, interpreters and a plethora of other skills and professions, as well as young people (over 17) and students. We welcome hundreds of asylum seekers and provide supermarket vouchers and travel expenses, hot food, snacks, clothing, medical, legal and housing signposting, therapies, counselling and a children’s corner.
By autumn 2016 we were welcoming nearly 500 asylum seekers each month from more than 60 countries around the world. To bring the numbers to a safe level, we sought and gained assistance from New London Synagogue. Their dedicated team now provides a nearby sister Drop in at the same time as ours. They cater for our longest-standing clients, providing vouchers, food and clothes, while those requiring advice and/or medical services are referred back to the NNLS Drop in.
In March 2018 we became an independent registered charity (no. 1177599), while still retaining close links and support from NNLS.
The objects of the charity continue to be to provide a Drop in service to relieve hardship and provide support to those seeking asylum.
During the coronavirus pandemic we have continued to support clients with monthly supermarket vouchers, and the number of clients supported has grown to 970. We are now working on plans to re-open our regular Drop in sessions.
The Trustees have responsibility for the governance of the Drop in, and a coordinating committee organises its operation and activities.