Our Story

In February 1998 a small group of volunteers led by the current Project Director Lindsay Cross began to work with asylum seekers living in Benwell, in the West End of Newcastle, providing second-hand clothing, blankets and food parcels. The clothing and blankets were initially stored in Lindsay’s garage. With the support of many of the local churches, the work quickly developed and in 1999 West End Refugee Service was formed.

Funding for 3 part-time posts was initially secured from the Church Urban Fund, St Hilda’s Trust and the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust. An office became available in a local church and the clothing and bedding were housed in the loft area of Cornerstone, a community project in Benwell. The organisation continued to grow quickly, going from strength to strength, and in February 2000 WERS moved into its present accommodation in St Philip’s Vicarage in Arthur’s Hill.

047Currently WERS has 7 paid staff, 60 approved volunteers and over 800 clients. The charity is currently funded by Big Lottery, Henry Smith Charity, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Lloyds Bank Foundation and Shears Foundation. WERS also receives many smaller grants and numerous individual donations.

WERS is highly regarded by other service providers in Newcastle and forms a vital link in the chain of local support services.

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