Meeting Point, a major provider of support to refugees and asylum seekers, based at Christ Church, Upper Armley, is facing a serious funding crisis and possible closure.
The project was started in 2003 by members of Christ Church who saw large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers who had been moved into the parish but were feeling isolated and unable to navigate their way through life.
Vicar, the Revd Arani Sen, says, “Very often beneficiaries arrive having experienced trauma in their home countries, religious or political persecution, war, trafficking and many other social evils”.
Activities include a weekly drop-in providing hot food, clothing and food parcels, help desk, IT, English classes, health support, children’s activities and sport. There's also a thriving women’s group where women learn new skills and develop new friendships across cultural barriers.
Arani Sen adds, “Meeting Point has retained its Christian ethos showing Jesus’ love in action, and a significant number have found a Christian faith through coming to Meeting Point and then to Christ Church for worship. In the last five years, over 25 Iranians, Kurds and Iraqis have been baptised and confirmed. Their engagement really enriches our worship."
Last year 224 adults and their 66 children paid 3000 visits to the drop-in. They served nearly 3000 hot meals and distributed nearly 2000 food parcels. 115 individuals benefited from the English classes and 58 women attended the Women’s Group. The need is only increasing – particularly as more asylum seekers from war zones arrive in Leeds.
Arani Sen adds, “But despite the obvious help Meeting Point gives to so many, obtaining funding is now very difficult and if sufficient funds aren’t secured within the next six months the project will regrettably be forced to close. (Due to the size of the project, we need to employ three members of staff, along with a large volunteer base.)"
Can you help? If individuals or PCCs are able to donate financially to Meeting Point, it would be hugely appreciated by those who have been excluded by society globally.