Volunteers work intensively with women to establish their current immigration status, to signpost support services and to help them gather evidence for their case. Although we are not able to be in the room with members at immigration meetings, we attend with them to offer moral support and implement an action strategy, agreed with them, if they are detained. Group members attend court hearings to provide mutual support.
We organise monthly social / educational gatherings to help members to meet and support each other, learn more about the community they are living in and to counter isolation.
We raise funds for the Group and distribute these to members to cover basic living costs, travel costs for immigration meetings and getting to events, basic living costs.
The Group was set up in 2007 as an anti-deportation campaign for a lesbian from Sierra Leone. The campaign was successful and she was given leave to remain in Britain. The high profile of this campaign led more women to contact the group looking for support. We have continued as a general support group for lesbian and bisexual women seeking asylum and refugees - the need is ongoing.
The group now consists of several volunteers supporting a number of women (currently 35) who are refugees or seeking asylum from countries across the world, all from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Many of the women contacting us do not feel comfortable enough to be open about their sexuality, even amongst other asylum seekers. LISG provides these women with a safe space to be themselves. Most of the women have a weekly income of only £37 from the Home Office and about 25% receive nothing at all and are dependent on charity. During the COVID 19 crisis as volunteers we’ve had to work hard to help women members who are particularly at risk due to poverty, isolation and living in shared accommodation with strangers.
The women describe LISG as their ‘family’ and as a family, with help from supporters, we’ve been able to raise funds to provide food, personal hygiene items, phone vouchers, fridges, computer tablets and other small electrical goods. We increased our social meetings (via Zoom) to twice a month, organised mental well being sessions and volunteers phone members regularly to check on their wellbeing.
In the past 18 months we have helped 21 women to achieve the right to remain in the UK. In our 13 years, no woman supported by LISG has been deported.
Lesbian Immigration Support Group
C/o The Pankhurst Centre, 60-62 Nelson Street, Manchester M13 9WP
You can help us by:
Fundraising or making donations by monthly standing order, or via our Go Fund Me page https://uk.gofundme.com/f/lesbian-immigration-support-group-lisg
Offering your time / skills for one off tasks or becoming a volunteer.
Feminist, non-judgemental, pro-refugee?
Why don’t YOU volunteer with LISG?
All enquiries from lesbian and bisexual women welcome. No experience necessary!
We particularly welcome enquiries from Black and ethnic minority women
You need to be based locally and able to travel in to meet women on a flexible schedule
‘These are diverse stories which are seldom heard. I hope this book will encourage empathy, compassion and a better understanding.’ Laila El Metoui, Equality Advocate.
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