GARAS Clothing

The response to the appeal has been amazingly generous.
We now only need mens shoes, hats, gloves and scarves.
All other clothing has been donated.
There will be a drop-off facility for donations again on Friday 18th. February 10am-12 noon at St. Thomas More Church.
Thank you for your donations and thank you to all volunteers who have helped in any way.
Bill Flynn

New floor in Old Priory – Back in use 27th February

The contractors installing the new floor in the Old Priory have worked a minor Miracle, and are about a week ahead of schedule!

The plan is to re-stat Coffee after Mass on 27th February.

The new flooring is a tone or two darker than the old. In addition to the floor surface being replaced, the storm drain under the floor has been repaired with an internal sprayed resin, and there are some minor external works to improve drainage for rainwater around the old priory building.

It is expected that the rooms will be fully open for use on 20th February when we plan to have the first coffee after 09:30 Mass since the start of the pandemic. Volunteers are needed to set up a rota for this important social aspect of the Parish.

Volunteering opportunities at GARAS

In addition to the continuing, urgent need for clothes, there are 2, urgent, volunteering opportunities at GARAS.
Clothes sorting
Recent Home Office changes have meant that significantly more asylum seekers are arriving in Gloucestershire, many directly from their point of UK entry.  They are in urgent need of clothes, and so, together with local churches, we are running a clothing project whereby people can donate (mainly men's) clothing, and our team of volunteers will sort these into packages for each asylum seeker.  The location for the project is St Aldates Church in Gloucester (GL4 6BW), and it opened to receive donations this week.  The team who are heading up this project have asked all volunteers who would like to be involved in the sorting process to join the Facebook group on this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/636696500780706.  For those not on Facebook, please e-mail Jennie Watts on admin@garas.org.uk  for more details.

Volunteering at a social space
If you would like to help provide a social space for asylum seekers who are newly arrived in Gloucestershire, and you have a DBS already in place, then please consider this request. GARAS are looking to host twice-weekly social times (games, tea-drinking, conversation) at a community venue near Junction 12 of the M5, and need volunteers who are willing to help set up and pack down, as well as stay to play games, make tea or coffee, and have conversations with people.  The days and times we need volunteers are Mondays and Wednesdays, from 12.30pm-3.30pm.  If you are willing to join one (or both!) of these sessions each week, please could you contact Jennie at: (admin@garas.org.uk / 07988 465548), with details of your DBS certificate number, your date of birth and surname on the certificate.

Urgent Need for Clothes

A very significant number of asylum seekers have been placed in the county by the Home Office in the past few weeks.  Many of these are newly arrived in the country and there is an urgent need for clean, good quality male clothing and shoes.

GARAS has been working with local churches and now have a team of volunteers receiving and sorting donations

They are based at St Aldates Church, Gloucester, GL4 6TR (just off Finlay Road).  They will be open Monday – Friday, 9am – 2pm. 

People can drop off donations by parking at the church, following the signs through the main doors and into the main hall space and simply leaving them there.

Volunteers:

If you are able to help to receive and sort the clothes, contact info@garas.org.uk and they can put you in touch with the organisers.

The Nationality and Borders Bill

The Nationality and Borders Bill

Following up on the St Gregory’s Advent Prayer Service with the focus on refugees and asylum seekers, and the meeting beforehand between Alex Chalk MP and some of the refugees in the town whom Parishioners have been helping, a further meeting has now been arranged with our MP. This takes place online on Friday 28th January, 9.30-10am. The objective is to discuss how the provisions of the Nationality and Borders Bill are likely to affect those fleeing persecution in future, and linked issues. If you wish to take part in this Zoom meeting (you do not have to speak unless you want to), email Bill Flynn (flynn.bill1@gmail.com) or Martin Davis (cheltlaudatosicircle@gmail.com).

Urgent need for help for Asylum Seekers

There is an urgent need to set up a means of organizing donations of clothing and personal items for asylum seekers.
Adele Owen of Garas has asked if there is anyone within our community who is available and willing to take on this responsibility in a volunteer role for the next 3 months.
Before an appeal is made for clothing there is the need to:
  • Set up a means of receiving, sorting, and storing items received.
  • Have people who can sort the clothing
This will involve having a large enough space and enough people to do the sorting of the clothes.
Although specific items and sizes will be specified, experience shows that whenever an appeal for clothes is made there are a lot of donations that are not suitable for various reasons. Sorting is therefore likely to be a sizable task.
Offers for the following are therefore welcome:
  • Volunteer, to organize the operation.
  • Suggestions for or the offer of a suitable space that is available for the next 3 months.
  • Volunteers to help with the operation.
If you would like to help can you please contact Bill Flynn at: