If you read some tabloid newspapers, you could be mistaken for thinking that British people are happy to treat refugees with hostility. Fortunately, many of my constituents demonstrate a very different attitude.
This was clear to me when I visited local charity Aid Box Community, which does fantastic work helping people who have fled persecution and war. The organisation runs a Free Shop and Hub in Redland, serving as a base to help refugees and asylum seekers source vital, everyday items from socks to saucepans that they would otherwise struggle to obtain.
The global refugee crisis continues to grow, yet the UK still takes a tiny number of refugees compared to many other countries. And when they arrive here, current laws mean asylum seekers and refugees are often forced to live in desperate situations. As chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees I hope to change this.
As I walked around the Aid Box shop, it made me aware of how many things I have which I don’t use and could donate. When people come here with nothing, essential items can help them make a home. Even more importantly, this generosity makes them feel welcome in our city.