Bristol Pride Without Borders (PWB)

We are a support and community group for LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers that is unique in Bristol.

Who We Are

Bristol Pride Without Borders (PWB) is an award winning project that supports LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers.  The project has been running for 5 years with a part time manager and a small group of volunteers who glue the group together with laughter and listening skills. It is one of a number of complimentary services offered by Bristol Refugee Rights.  We currently have 35 active members.

“Bristol PWB has given me back my dignity. I have not felt as safe in such a long time." PWB Member

Coronavirus update:

Pride Without Borders is still working to support our community of LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees. Our small team are calling people to offer emotional support and information and check they are safe. We are referring people to food banks and trying to get housing for precarious sofa surfers who face getting kicked out onto the streets.

We are also holding weekly meetings online over Zoom in order to maintain our community and offer contact and support.

On the plus side, the asylum system has slowed to a crawl and very few negative decisions, removal threats or evictions are happening. There is more availability of housing and destitution supplies than before for some people. On the minus side, members are very isolated and stressed by fears about coronavirus. Racist and homophobic incidents and conflict in crowded shared housing are likely to rise. We still need funds to keep running. 

Why is the project needed?

LGBT+ people face extreme persecution in many countries across the world.  Some LGBT+ people come to the UK to seek asylum only to find they face the same prejudice from their home communities here.  They can also find that some LGBT+ groups in the UK don't understand the challenges of seeking asylum, as well as facing the 'hostile environment' that all asylum seekers face in the current UK system. In addition LGBT+ asylum seekers are much less likely to have family support, good friendship networks and a supportive community around them. 

"For the first time I feel I can be myself as I share the friendship of others in my social group.  People should know that LGBT asylum seekers are people who have been persecuted and are afraid,” PWB Member

"This group is my family. And now we are a BIG family!  PWB means a lot to my life. It is where I feel confident, and where I belong." PWB Member

How we work

Under normal circumstances, Pride Without Borders meets fortnightly. We are now organising group video calls as well as lots of 121 calls to individual members to offer support and information. We all talk, share experiences, questions and challenges.  We have formed a community marked by energy and appreciation; everyone has an understanding of the problems caused by the asylum system and shares experiences of a life scarred by trauma and dislocation.  

We offer: a safe space, a non-judgemental and caring atmosphere, LGBT+ peers, signposting to other organisations and services, help in understanding the asylum system, help accessing quality legal advice.  We also help members to reflect on their physical and mental health. We invite in guest speakers.  These have included a trauma specialist, a solicitor, a trans rights activist and members of other LGBT+ organisations. 

 “Being open is a very new experience to us, but bit by bit we are getting used to it and liking it. We just need to be accepted without always having to answer questions or made to feel guilty because of who we are.” PWB Member

Read about us in the Bristol Cable - https://thebristolcable.org/2017/05/pride-against-all-odds/

Our funding situation:

PWB has no direct funding and its future is uncertain.

Please pledge support to this project so that we can continue the life-changing work:

  • £10,000 per year would maintain the project and help us stay open, paying for staff time and room hire. 
  • £12,000 would allow the service to expand its numbers and do outreach work including awareness raising and training in frontline organisations. 
  • £15,000 would allow staff and group members to actively challenge homophobia and transphobia in the refugee and asylum-seeking community and spread awareness through the LGBT+ community.

Looking forward

We have lots of exciting ideas for expanding our work - we would love to create more space for the voices of our members to be heard.  We also believe it is important to train other professionals in how to work sensitively and appropriately with LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers and to campaign for change and a better system.  The group are becoming increasingly vocal and confident about speaking out within refugee communities and asserting their rights. 

“It is heartwarming to see how the members in this group look out for each other and the room is often filled with laughter,” says Tom, Manager of PWB “We have spent hours talking about the challenges of reconciling sexual identity with religion and culture.”

Please get in touch with ideas and support in addition to donations: tom@bristolrefugeerights.org

You can read about the story of one of our members here

 

Photos by Diego Maeso  https://www.diegomaeso.com/

Film created by volunteer (and film maker) Sam Harvey - www.directorsamuelharvey.com

 

Make a cash donation

Support this project with a donation

Support this project

Are you a superbacker?

Feeling generous? Then you can be a hero and completely fund this project.

Fund this project

£5,528

pledged of £15,000 goal (GBP)

37% pledged

131 backers

This is an open ended project. There is no time limit and payments are taken straight away.

This project was created by

Similar projects

Crowdfunding project

Safer off the Streets - Help Bristol's homeless night shelters

Help us fundraise for Bristol's 65 emergency bed spaces for homeless people
86% raised
Open ended
86% pledged
Crowdfunding project

Refugee Art Trail

Fundraising to deliver fishing equipment to the Greek Islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios to help families improve the diets of their children in camps
111% raised
Open ended
111% pledged
Crowdfunding project

The Humanitea Cafe

A cafe where each hot meal sold will come with a token to hand out to someone who needs a free hot meal.
12% raised
Open ended
12% pledged
Crowdfunding project

Community Care Package

A free food delivery service for our community during the current crisis, for anyone who can't get out or afford fresh fruit and veg.
91% raised
Open ended
91% pledged