An organisation like CLEAR is invaluable in creating a welcoming environment for refugees and people seeking asylum in Southampton. In spite of the ongoing pandemic, and the current lockdown meaning that the office is closed, CLEAR continues to offer a large range of services to its clients online and via phone every weekday.

English classes take place twice daily via Zoom, with this service continuing to prove extremely popular. Classes are provided by a mixture of paid and volunteer tutors, with CLEAR staff organising and running classes that are then supported by volunteer tutors and learning support assistants. Any written work completed by students is sent to their teachers via WhatsApp, making the best of the current situation to create an interactive online class. CLEAR has been able to provide technical support if needed to those wishing to attend, ensuring that the classes are as accessible as possible despite their online setting.

Employment support is offered on Wednesday mornings as well as all day Friday, with a dedicated admin volunteer working to meet the precise needs of clients and provide them with specific individual appointments to ensure that they receive the necessary personalised support. This is a service that is facing a particular challenge at the moment, as the typical industries in which CLEAR has been able to help its clients find work currently have very few jobs available. Furthermore, many clients are facing additional parenting responsibilities with schools being closed, making jobs at certain hours inaccessible to them. As such, the support offered here continues to be of great importance.

The advice team operates remotely on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, currently booking essential face-to-face appointments for immigration only. The advice offered by CLEAR for free can be invaluable in completing the complex legal documents required to immigrate officially to, or seek asylum in, the UK, a process which can otherwise take a significant toll on a person’s mental health due to the difficulty involved.

Finally, EU welcome is continuing to offer advice from home from Monday to Wednesday every week. You can read more on their website here.

As lockdown eases, CLEAR hopes to be able to get back to more face-to-face activities, ensuring that Southampton remains a place of sanctuary for all who need it.

To access any of CLEAR’S services, call reception on 02380221111 or email reception@clearproject.org.uk and leave a message with your name, phone number and explaining what you need help with. The receptionist will then pass on your message to the correct team.