Find out more
You are here:
Phil Broadhurst, manager of the Oxfam shop in Castle Street, Swansea, explains why he's welcomed more than 100 volunteers who have fled to the UK in search of a safer life.
About ten years ago, I started taking my children to a drop-in centre where families in Swansea could chat, eat and play with families seeking asylum here. They did the classic kids' thing of not seeing any difference between themselves and the kids there - if only the rest of the world was like that! And as I spoke to people who said they were bored or lonely but couldn't work while their asylum applications were considered, I thought, 'There's a great pool of volunteers here!'
More than 100 refugees and asylum seekers have volunteered in the shop since then. When they're here they're people, not asylum seekers or refugees. That's a very simple sentence but it means
an awful lot. I think not being defined by their situation is what often matters most. I always say, 'If you hear anyone complaining about lazy asylum seekers, tell them to come into our shop!' People tend to be very determined and make excellent volunteers. It makes my job more interesting and more fun to be surrounded by people from around the world, too. We were part of a really good community campaign after one volunteer, George, was suddenly taken with his family to a detention centre. All the
regulars knew him but didn't necessarily know his situation. We got more than 3,000 signatures and he was eventually released. I think a lot of people stopped and thought about the asylum process at that point. It showed how a community campaign can really make a difference.
We run all kinds of events to bring people together and raise awareness, like coffee mornings, arts events and our Common Language evenings, where we get people together to share basic phrases in their language. As one volunteer from Eritrea said to me recently, language just connects people.
We were the first shop in the UK to be recognised as a 'Shop of Sanctuary'. It's a scheme that shows your commitment to welcoming people who are seeking refuge here. It gives everyone involved in the shop - wherever they are from - a great sense of pride for being part of something open and welcoming in the community.
Wherever Oxfam works in the world, we look to engage in local communities. I don't think shops should be any different. We're doing something that should be completely ordinary, but isn't. I want people to see what we're doing and copy it.
All over the world, with 65 million people having fled their homes, you're helping us provide urgent support to families in incredibly vulnerable situations. Donate today, and you can help us be there for even more people.
Give now. Save Lives.
How does my support help end poverty? Take a peek at Inside Oxfam and discover how we help communities bounce back from disaster.
Around the world, people face huge challenges to build a new life after fleeing their homes. These are their stories - and this is how you're creating hope.
All over the UK, amazing people are joining forces to show they won't live with poverty.
Sometimes it feels like we only hear tales of conflict, disaster and sadness. But thanks to your support, Oxfam has been able to bring real, precious, unexpected hope to people in seemingly desperate situations
It’s almost three years since the Ebola crisis began in West Africa, with your support, we’re still there – helping people to recover together.
The tax African countries lose because of personal wealth hidden in tax havens could pay for enough teachers to educate every child in Africa.
“We’ve all got the power to change the world.”
Meet Sue Greenwood who lost a leg in the 2005 London bombings. One year later, she took part in our Trailwalker 100km walking challenge.
Oxfam supporter Roger Saunders took to the skies to celebrate leaving a gift to Oxfam in his Will.
Stories of hope in a changing climate. Here are just a few of the many stories showing how your support is helping people improve their future, despite the changing climate.
The author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time travels to Ethiopia with Oxfam.
Meet five amazing women who are giving their families and communities the strength to survive.
As the clock strikes midnight on 31 December people around the world will welcome in 2017, reflecting... Read more
Humanitarian worker Duoi Ampilan explains why, despite the dangers and the distress, he still loves... Read more
"We fled from our home; there were so many dead bodies on the streets." Wafaa (name changed... Read more
© 2017. Oxfam is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC039042).
Oxfam GB is a member of the international confederation Oxfam.