Tell us about your organisation (history, aims, vision):
Since 2012, Rainbow Home has been providing specialist support for people who are seeking asylum who are LGBT+ and live in the North East of England. Our aim is to walk the asylum journey with our members from the moment they are accepted into the service until after their asylum case has reached a final decision, and beyond. Our members have fled a country in which they were unable to express their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and where they experienced oppression, persecution, violence and/or threats to their life and safety – Iran, Iraq, Uganda, Nigeria, El Salvador, Kenya, Saudi Arabia are just some of the current examples. Many of our members have also experienced trauma in transit and in the UK.
The original need that we identified was the difficult task to help with ‘proving’ sexual orientation or gender identity for the purposes of the asylum claim, as the person seeking asylum has the obligation to provide evidence to the Home Office that they are LGBT+. Along with that, we seek to help combating the sense of isolation that people seeking asylum who are also LGBT+ suffer, and offer avenues for empowerment.
Who do you serve? How do they access services?
We support LGBT+ people who are seeking asylum and live in the North East of England. You can access the service through referrals and self-referrals, and you can do so simply by contacting the Rainbow Home worker (via email).
What are you current projects or services?
- Rainbow Home provides a person-centred and holistic support.
- We offer individually tailored emotional and practical support sessions, as well as welfare and asylum casework.
- We have facilitated weekly mixed social groups and women-only social groups.
Have you adapted your service during the pandemic?
Our 1to1 sessions are currently delivered remotely. We deliver urgent appointments in person, following Covid-19 safety protocols. Our social groups are online too at the moment.
What are your three main concerns at the moment?
- The need to maintain current worker hours as we move out of this lockdown, as Home Office activity is increasing and our numbers have grown steadily over the past year.
- Safely restarting face to face group sessions, as Rainbow Home members really benefit from the interaction with other LGBT+ people in a safe space.
- The impact of the new immigration bill.