Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (LOSRAS)
The Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (LOSRAS) arose from an open meeting in January 2002 for anyone interested in the issues of migration, asylum and safe refuge, springing from concerns for human rights and civic responsibilities. LOSRAS aims to promote the welfare of refugees & asylum seekers in and beyond the Lewes District by raising awareness of issues relating to refugees and asylum seekers; providing practical help and responding to local issues as they arise; and advocating and lobbying to improve the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
Since the onset of the current refugee crisis LOSRAS has increased its remit. Whilst still raising awareness of the responsibility of the UK towards refugees, it is also working with local government, other charities and community groups to secure welfare, housing, education and other support for the successful settlement of the newly arrived refugees in the local area. See Local Action here.
LOSRAS currently has two key campaign objectives:
- Advocate for an end to the use of arbitrary indefinite immigration detention in the UK
- Advocate for the safe passage of refugees, especially unaccompanied minors, for resettlement in the UK
Membership of LOSRAS is open to all who share these aims, irrespective of personal affiliations and beliefs.
Lewes Actions for Refugees (LAfR)
In response to the refugee crisis in Europe, a Facebook group – Lewes Actions for Refugees (LAfR) – was set up to coordinate the work of people travelling to Calais to help stranded refugees. Their work has included collecting and bringing aid, organising fundraisers, campaigning, supporting the unaccompanied minors and building shelters for and with the refugees in the Calais Jungle and Dunkirk. With the formal closing of the Calais camps, LAfR has continued to coordinate a practical response to the ongoing refugee crisis on the continent by people in the Lewes area.
See the Facebook group here: LAfR Facebook Group
Lewes Area Welcomes Refugees (LAWR)
The development of LAfR, functioning predominately on social media platforms, prompted an initiative to bring the key people involved in these efforts together with the members of LOSRAS who have different backgrounds, areas of expertise and contacts. In April 2016, LAfR organised a Citizens UK training event, which brought together members of the community eager to learn about refugee issues and how to help with the current crisis on a local level. Out of this meeting the Lewes Area Welcomes Refugees (LAWR) group was created. This provided an umbrella organisation to focus resources and activities in the area and to provide a cooperative forum for local groups.
Having effectively brought people together LAWR was disbanded in 2018 as a formal organisation in Lewes, but members of other Lewes groups still meet regularly to share information, so the legacy of LAWR is increased cooperation among Lewes refugee support groups.
Other local groups
East Hoathly & Halland Village of Sanctuary
Seaford Refugee Support
Enthum Foundation, Sussex
The Hummingbird Project, Brighton
Voices in exile, Brighton
Thousand 4 1000/Brighton Migrant Solidarity:
The Refugee Council also maintains a directory including local groups
There are many other local groups working with and for refugees in towns and villages around Lewes. If you’d like more information on our local area or to be involved, contact us.