Covid-19: Asylum seeker and partner provides acts of kindness for others during pandemic

As daily essentials are in high demand during this pandemic, asylum seeker, who has asked to remain anonymous for security purposes, and his partner Liz Hulse provides acts of kindness to assist – those who are vulnerable and the NHS staff – as they struggle to get their essentials.

This asylum seeker moved to the UK 10 years ago and had to claim asylum due to complications with his immigration status ; moreover, his application has been put on hold at this time due to the pandemic. Therefore, to keep himself distracted and to keep his mental health in check, he knew that he had to do something. So, he made a decision to help those who are in need during this pandemic.

“It all started off by just helping the elderly and the vulnerable just down our street. and you know I thought ‘I could easily do that – shopping or picking up prescriptions – just the essential stuff that they shouldn’t be doing, but it has to be done.’

So basically a group of 6 people joined in. We divided our area by every Ward. And every Ward would meet around 8:30 everyday, even if it’s just 15 minutes of work – you know just some shopping for someone.

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

The asylum seeker, then heard about how much of a need there was to help  the NHS staff as well with getting their essentials – such as bread, milk, toilet paper, face masks, medications such as paracetamol, and fruit and vegetables.

With this information, he and his partner Liz wanted to further their efforts in continuing to help those in need of assistance during this pandemic; therefore, they organised two Facebook groups –  Help Orphington NHS, which provides the NHS staff with their essentials and the Orphington Covid 19 Mutual Aid, which helps vulnerable people get their essentials as well.

The next thing they knew they needed to do was to seek out for financial assistance with this endeavour; therefore, they reached out to a local business group that helped them get started.

“Then we reached out to a local community group and that kind of took us through commercial levels – which is basically linked to every business in the area – Orphington 1st.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

Orphington 1st were their first sponsors, in which they gave £1000 towards to help those who are in need during this pandemic. This then lead to Crofton Oak Scouts Hut Trust ,who offered their premises (free of charge) to them and their volunteers for the duration of the pandemic. The Scouts Hut was used as a base for Help Orphington NHS, where basic essentials are set up for the NHS staff to come in, get what they need, get back to work, or to go home.

Curtesy images of Help Orphington NHS – The trustees of Crofton Oak Scout Hut on Crofton Road

The council had a problem with this at first,  but the asylum seeker and his partner Liz assured them that they were following the World Health Organisation procedures and policies to ensure that every volunteer that works there is kept safe. The asylum seeker said, “We were just trying to fill the gap where the council had failed to do so and just wanted to do what we knew needed to be done.”

“We have proper social distancing, which is in place. We have all our volunteers wear masks and glooves. Then we have at the entrances – hand washes and hand sanitizers.”

-Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

Help Orpington NHS

The asylum seeker, said when he and his partner Liz heard that there was a need to help the NHS staff get their daily essentials before and after their shifts, them and their volunteers reached out to the community and got a large amount of support from local farms, caterers, local restaurants, and local supermarkets who are donating to this cause.

Asylum seeker said, anytime they realised they were running low on things and posted it to their Facebook page, they got help  pretty quickly.

“We are getting half a truck full every single day, which is a local shop. And I’m surprised and so amazed that they are checking our post on Facebook. The moment they see we are running low on things – the next day or even the same day we had that.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

Local supermarkets, such as Iceland, have even set up signs and shopping carts at their stores to help get more donations for the Help Orphington NHS. Local restaurants are even donating lunches for the NHS staff, so that they can just come in, grab a lunch, and get back to work.

Curtesy images from Help Orphington NHS

“The main intention behind that was to restrict the NHS staff before or after their shifts.

They leave the hospital premises – some might go to supermarkets just to buy the essentials – so instead of going to 20 different locations, they can just come to one location, which restricts their movement in general, so that they can come to just one place.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

NHS staff appreciation

The asylum seeker and his partner Liz, as well as their community, wanted to let the NHS staff know just how much they are appreciated; therefore, on National Nurses Day, they launched a ‘Let’s Bake for the NHS’.

Cakes were sold through an online auction throughout the day on a Sunday and they were delivered to the purchasers homes ‪on Sunday afternoon‬.

All proceeds went to Help Orphington NHS.

Many children even brought the Help Orphington NHS drawings that they made for the NHS staff and they were hung on the wall behind the pastries.

Bakery goods for NHS staff at the Help Orphington NHS

And lastly, Asylum seeker offers some advice for those who are similar circumstances that he is in: 

“Don’t worry about what’s ahead of you. Keep your mental health in place and keep yourself motivated.”

– Anonymous person who seeks asylum in the UK

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