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Welfare Advice

We provide vital support for the most vulnerable people living in Westminster who are struggling to meet their needs.

Our Westminster Advice Services Partnership, with Westminster Citizens Advice and Age UK Westminster, allows us to provide important support to those for whom English is not their first language. These individuals often find themselves destitute with money problems, no employment, problems with immigration and housing. 

At Asylum Aid we have advisers who speak community languages and so are able to give advice and support to Survivors in their own language. People can call us or come to one of our drop in meetings.

The focus of Asylum Aid’s welfare advice team is on migrant and vulnerable communities.  Our assistance can be transformative for individuals and we are determined to do more to reach and support vulnerable people seeking safety. 

Elen’s Story

Elen is from Eritrea. She moved to the UK around 20 years ago, having had a traumatic experience of leaving her country and coming to the UK.

Ever since she’s lived here she’s always worked hard. She worked in a local hotel as well as volunteering at her local hospital in the children’s centre. She has a big heart: she’s a calming presence and a generous soul.

Elen has no family here, and when the virus hit in March 2020, her employer told her that there was no more work. She was on a zero hour contract and didn’t know what to do, she was totally devastated and felt extremely vulnerable.

Elen has never had to rely on benefits before and she came to Asylum Aid’s welfare advice service in Westminster’s Citizens Advice Bureau to ask for help.

We helped her apply for the benefits she was entitled to so that she was able to stay in her house and pay her rent while she looked for another job. Elen was terrified that her landlord would kick her out of her home – our caseworker liaised with the landlord so that they understood her situation and made sure Elen was on the correct housing benefits.

Elen said the support she received from Asylum Aid’s Welfare Advice Service made a huge difference, here she found someone who understood her and was able to help her with the paperwork. She said it was “like having a family member”.  

During lockdown, Elen has been helping friends with shopping, and doing community work. She hopes one day to work for the NHS and care for the elderly. Thanks to Asylum Aid’s support, Elen has managed to weather a difficult period of losing her job during a global crisis. Our caseworkers made sure she didn’t have to go through this alone and helped her avoid financial and housing insecurity so that she can continue doing what she loves: working to give back to her community and to help others.

Everything collapsed. I was so desperate.