Birmingham Arts Charity supports young asylum seekers

Volunteers prepare and deliver meals during Ramadan.

A Birmingham youth charity is cooking and delivering hot meals throughout the month of Ramadan to support young asylum seekers across the city.

The GAP Arts Project, based in Balsall Heath, is using the facilities in its very own community café, the MIX, to produce the fresh food.

Volunteer chef Hassan Rahmani (pictured), himself a young refugee, is cooking the hot meals which are then delivered by other volunteers from the GAP in time for the asylum seekers to open their fasts during the month of daylight fasting.

Ceri Townsend, project manager at the GAP, said: “The young asylum seekers, many housed in temporary living accommodation that lack adequate cooking facilities, are in a particularly challenging situation. It’s especially difficult because they are already living under stressful conditions. They are away from their home country, away from their families.

“At Ramadan, we know it’s traditional for them to get together and see their friends. We realise this is not a good idea at the moment and we would like to keep them safe, by reducing the temptation to leave their isolation to socialise. For these young people, living in strict isolation is a real mental health crisis waiting to happen, and we thought our hot food and deliveries could help.”

The GAP Arts Project hopes to maintain the delivery of meals beyond Ramadan and throughout the whole lockdown period.

The charity is acting on referrals from charities like the Red Cross and Hope Projects to ensure vulnerable people are looked after during the lockdown.

The GAP provides a platform for the cultural and creative expression of young people, and would normally be delivering theatre performances and arts workshops for young people.

While these have been temporarily postponed, the charity is instead organising various community support initiatives to help those worst affected by the lockdown.

These include Family Garden Days, providing picnic hampers and exclusive access to a secret garden for individual families with no outdoor space.

Ms Townsend explained that throughout these initiatives, the GAP has complied with all government regulations surrounding Covid-19, providing masks and gloves to all volunteers.

She added: “The GAP welcomes the support of the wider community to help keep these important initiatives going.”