When I first came [to Lancaster], I was very sad.  I thought, it is a small city, with no Arabic people. 

After one or two weeks, my housemate told me to go to Global Link. I came and I met Bashar and I told him my story.  He told me, if you need anything, call me, no problem. And then I came to Global Link every Tuesday for meeting new people. I met lots of new people, people from many different nationalities and I made new friends. It was fantastic. 

Global Link helped me with contacting my lawyer as the Home Office had the wrong address.  Global Link helped me to contact my MP many times.  It is hard, because the asylum seekers that I knew when I first arrived in the UK have now all been granted leave to remain.  And I am waiting, waiting, waiting.  My family are in a really bad situation, and I can’t help them.  I know things are closed and slow because of the coronavirus.  It is very hard.

After one month, I met Eleanor, the Global Link ESOL teacher, and went to college.  I started learning English.  Then lockdown came.  I studied English on zoom, so many classes on zoom.  I don’t really like zoom. It was my first time using it, but I got used to it.

To help me study I got a laptop from Dorothea (City of Sanctuary).  I first got a wifi top-up from college, but the first one only lasted one month and then the second one lasted only 3 days.   Then we got wifi from Global Link in December.  It was 6 months’ unlimited data.  That meant I could study English. It is very hard for asylum seekers to pay for wifi. It can cost £30 a month.  We get £39.60 a week.  It is enough for food.  But sometimes we need more. Sometimes I need clothes or to go to the barber.

In the summer I went on walks with Global Link.  We went to Grange-over-Sands, two times to Silverdale and to Arnside.  I like to take the train to spend time in a new place, a small village, or a natural place.   Always I like to see new places. It was very fantastic!

Lancaster is a better place than other places for helping asylum seekers, compared to London, Manchester or Birmingham. People don’t get help, because they are big cities, and many more people. 

I feel part of a family. Global Link and Dorothea – thank you so so much for helping us.