About CLEAR Project

The CLEAR project was set up in 2001 by City Life Church in response to the Government’s dispersal policy on asylum seekers and refugees, which led to high numbers arriving in Southampton. Many of those who were dispersed here chose to make Southampton their home and our services have developed around the needs of this client group. Our beneficiaries are asylum seekers and refugees in Southampton. Due to a lack of English language and literacy skills and unfamiliarity with the UK system, they need help to deal with the complexity of the UK system in order to integrate into society.

Southampton remains a dispersal city with over 150 spaces for Home Office assisted asylum seekers. There are also many more asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeals rights who are not supported by the Home Office but are still in great need of specialist advice and help. Over the past few years other agencies have had to close their services in the city. In response to this CLEAR has sought to increase the breadth and depth of the services we offer.

Building a new life as a refugee in the UK is a long and difficult process. When an asylum seeker is given refugee status, their situation completely changes and they are expected to look after themselves very quickly. Finding somewhere to live, learning English and seeking work are just the first challenges. They often face disadvantages such as:

  • Economic and social deprivation
  • Poor housing and homelessness
  • Difficulties accessing services
  • Community tensions
  • Racial and cultural discrimination and hate crime
  • Unemployment
  • Poor physical and mental health

Our Teams

Advice Team
Our Advice team is led by Admir, who has many years’ experience working in the sector. Cath and Stella are our integration advisors and Nicola is our employment specialist.
Learning Team
Maryam leads the Learning and Development team. Sue is our Lead Tutor responsible for our English courses, Rowan looks after Learner Engagement, Irantzu is Team Administrator and we have a group of freelance tutors and volunteer learning assistants.

Our Aims

CLEAR seeks to improve the quality of life of refugees and asylum seekers by providing free advice and supporting people to access local services. We believe in empowerment through education and in practical action to support the settled and developing refugee communities. CLEAR has an established reputation within the city as an organisation working to support the human rights of its clients and to alleviate need and hardship.

Why are we effective?

CLEAR is now the only organisation resident in the city working with refugees and asylum seekers and the specialist advice we can offer is not available from many other organisations in Hampshire.

CLEAR offers a friendly and welcoming advice service open for beneficiaries to drop in. We know that many clients really appreciate the way in which we assist them. By offering English courses and other adult learning, employment advice and volunteer opportunities we are able to provide joined up services which both deal with the immediate issues that people face and help them to progress.

How do we know it works?

CLEAR services are really valued by our clients, we know this because clients come back again and again over the process of integration into society, which can take many years. We help them at key stages; assisting on arrival in the UK, during the process of claiming asylum, through getting immigration status and applying for settlement, to citizenship and finally applying for a British passport.

We obtain user feedback to confirm we are meeting community needs. In our survey users valued CLEAR’s good professional advice about benefits, immigration and citizenship issues and housing. It found that in addition they need support making phone calls to statutory agencies, help filling out forms and an explanation of the content of official letters. The reasons they used CLEAR were; “good advice, good service, approachable staff, appropriate opening times and advisors who speak clients’ own languages”.