Welcome Boxes for Asylum Seekers

CHURCHES in TOTNES are supporting the initiative of Plymouth Red Cross for welcoming newly-arrived asylum-seekers

This is part of a ‘Welcome’ scheme that has been run by the Plymouth Red Cross for many years. The scheme involves welcoming new arrivals when they come to Plymouth, helping them find their accommodation and generally find their feet during their first month in Plymouth, befriending them and giving them practical help. All of this is done by the volunteers of the Welcome Project.

The part which Red Cross is now looking to Totnes to see if we can help, is the making of the Welcome Packs, which consist of shoe boxes containing toiletries and a few other useful items to have on arrival.

About 300 new asylum-seekers, mostly young men, arrive in Plymouth per year, which means about 6 boxes per week. If a few other churches would join the Quakers in this practical initiative that would be very welcome.

As it seems too ambitious for any of our local churches to commit to making a fixed number of these ‘Welcome’ packs, I am writing to say the Red Cross at Plymouth will gratefully receive any boxes that people can make, no fixed number. Many thanks to those churches who have already responded positively to this initiative. The Red Cross representative at the recent Christian Festival on VIre island was delighted to take a couple of boxes already made. ~ Wendy Stayte


Shoe-box containing:

Toiletries (the main category)
• Make up
• Scarves and hats
• Energy biscuits
• Pens / pencils
• Notebooks
• T-shirts (male or female)
• Other age-appropriate items

The Red Cross representative says that a small card inside saying ‘Welcome’ is a good addition, as are sanitary packs for women’s boxes.
Keep in mind that most asylum-seekers coming to Plymouth are young men – women and children are in the minority.


Any welcome packs that members of congregations can make, please bring either to the Quaker Meeting House in Ticklemore Street on any Sunday between 12noon and 1pm, or to Wendy Stayte’s house 2 Seymour villas, TQ9 5QR anytime (if she’s not there, boxes can be left inside the left-hand door of the house (always open in daylight).

Alternatively, Liz Waterson is happy to collect gifts, either complete boxes or gifts towards making a box (clearly marked for Refugees Red Cross), in her porch at 32 Copland Meadows TQ9 6ER and she will then pass them on to Wendy.  The Street Pastor base is at the Quaker Meeting House and Liz goes there each week.

• more about British Red Cross support for refugees here