I had arrived in the UK on 17 November 2019, for almost a month I was kept in a hostel in Liverpool and then have been shifted to Lancaster.

It was an extremely difficult journey, as I had to flee away from Iran; I had no any other option to avoid it. Entirely my journey was illegal by walking, hiding and Lorries. I don’t want to recall it, it gives me grieve – leave it, it was not something I should remember it and hope to forget it soon.

As soon as I got aware of my allocation to Lancaster, I started asking about Lancaster. I was told by a gentleman that Lancaster is a beautiful place with a friendly community, who are always cooperative and welcome refugees. The guy had added there is a charity organisation called Global Link, which supports asylum seekers and refugees. Thus I knew a bit about Lancaster and Global Link before to arrive here, even, I was provided with address of Global Link.

For the first time I came with a housemate of mine to Global Link. I do remember very well when I came, it was Tuesday and there was a lunch drop-in, where foods were serving to participants. Honestly, it was a unique experience for me, for the first time in the UK had a socialized lunch with a big group of people from different cultures and backgrounds.

For the first time I met Sophie at Global Link, who did fill one of NHS form for me and then I was referred to Ms Eleanor for my English assessment.

The season I arrived in Lancaster was just before Christmas of 2019, there were some really interesting seasonal events and ceremonies going on around. I really enjoyed those events which then supressed by worldwide pandemic. I was not the only one who liked these events but most of my country fellows, housemates and friends enjoyed it too and missing it.

As I had trained and worked in the field of IT, I have started my first volunteer job at Global Link as assistant IT technician to repair the donated PCs and made it ready for use of asylum seekers and refugees during lockdown, which was an urgent need due to a sudden-sit pandemic all over the UK.

I spend most of my time with learning English language. I do have some classes of Maths too. I do volunteer for eggcup and a stable around the Morecambe. Both of these volunteer works are extremely interesting for me. At Eggcup, I deal with food management from reception to sorting, repacking and loading for further redistribution. The work at horses stable is quite fun where we clean the stable, feed the horses and the most interesting of it is riding the horses. In addition I am trying to participate in most of asylum seekers and refugees’ online gathering and meetings such as Global Link managed conversations space, lived experience group meetings etc.

The only problem I have is homesickness and unable to support my immediate family, my wife and my son. My wife had a car accident about 10 month ago where she got severe injuries. My family did not make me aware of the accident on time, thinking of my mental condition due to grieve for which I left my country. Finally, later I realised that something strange was happened, it was the car accident for which my wife had been in hospital for weeks.

I love Lancaster, if I get leave to remain and would have a paid working opportunity in Lancaster, I would not move anywhere else; I may move to look for work to Manchester or London otherwise.

Honestly if there weren’t all these opportunities what I have enjoyed with assistance of the Global Link, I am certain I would not have had the current mental conditions, which would have been far worsened.