Rice and bikes, support for refugees and asylum seekers

Supporting refugees and asylum seekers: Members take in dry goods, (pasta, rice, etc) to a centre for refugees and asylum seekers in the centre of Bristol which is managed by another charity.

The volunteers stay to chat with the people living there, to offer encouragement, helping people to feel valued and welcomed by representatives of the wider community. Many of the refugees are facing real hardship, and both the practical help and the encouragement that members offer is much appreciated.

Snack and chat

Snack and chat is a weekly meeting held in the coffee area at the back of their church for people who, for whatever reason, are feeling a bit lonely or isolated, and would welcome someone to talk to.

The two members who organise this weekly session have met a wide variety of people, coming from very different circumstances: some have been bereaved, others are refugees and so new to the community. Others are lonely, having few family or friends in the area. As people join the group and get to know each other, they make friends and then are able to welcome others.

Teddies for tragedies

Members in Leicester enthusiastically knit teddies, which are then given to a number of agencies to distribute to children who experience traumatic situations (hospitals, the police, family centres, etc).

One bag of teddies was given to the police child protection team. Paul, the liaison officer, told Mothers’ Union that one teddy had been given to a child victim during an interview.


Mothers’ Union, working with a local Residents’ Association, open up a parish hall during the lunchtime break, and provide teenagers with something free to eat and drink, activities to do and a safe place to socialise.

Most days between 40 – 50 young people come along. Volunteers help in a range of ways: some by serving the food and drinks, and others who are more ‘front of house’ engage more directly with the young people.

This project has led the parish into a newly enriched relationship with the community and its young people

The granny waggon

Reaching out to teenagers

On a Friday night, members take hot drinks and packaged snacks down to a local play area where young teenagers gather.

A member uses her car, serving snacks from an open boot.

Members chat with the teenagers, who often talk about all sorts of things that interest or concern them about their local community and the wider world.

Even when we’re not ‘on duty’ at the Waggon the kids will come up and chat to us if they see us around town. I think the age gap actually helps – in our own way we’re quite ‘cool’!