Charities are raising funds to give bikes to refugees in Norwich

Charities in Norwich are raising money to give bikes to asylum seekers and refugees. They say it’ll give them the independence to get around the city. Refugees live on thirty-seven pounds a week making it difficult to pay for public transport. But riding a bike could make a big difference to their everyday lives.

Protected: #RefugeesWelcome Campaign in Birmingham

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Refugees: Dispelling Myths

There is a lot of conflicting terminology that surrounds refugees. The media often mixes up the terms ‘migrant’, ‘refugee’, ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘immigrant’. So how are these words actually defined? And what is the UK really doing to support those who seek entry from overseas?




A person who moves from one place to another in order to find work or better living conditions.

N/B This could be an expat.


A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

N/B This could also be an expat. Many British people decide to live permanently in foreign countries and/or work abroad for many years.

Asylum seeker

Someone who has left their home country and applied for recognition as a refugee in another country and is waiting for a decision on their application.

Only asylum seekers who are granted refugee status are allowed to work in the country.

The majority of asylum seekers do not have the right to work in the United Kingdom and so must rely on state support. Housing is provided, but asylum seekers cannot choose where it is, and it is often ‘hard to let’ properties which Council tenants do not want to live in. Cash support is available, and is currently set at £36.95 per person, per week, which makes it £5.28 a day for food, sanitation and clothing. They receive no money for transportation.
(Source: Home Office)


A person who has left their home country because they are afraid of being persecuted. As a result they cannot seek protection from their home country.

When a person has been given refugee status the Home Office has acknowledged that they cannot return to their country of origin for their own safety. They may have been tortured or worried for their lives.


Internally displaced person (IDP)

A person who has been forced to move within his or her own country as a result of conflict, natural disaster, etc.

Citizens of New Orleans who had to seek refuge after Hurricane Katrina should have technically been referred to as IDPs. They were still American citizens, however many news reporters classed them incorrectly as refugees. This was discussed on NBC news and NPR.

Asylum Seekers in the UK

Far fewer people come to the UK to apply for asylum than you might think.
More than 50 million people throughout the world were forced to flee their homes last year. There are more than 13 million refugees worldwide – but developing countries host over 80% of people.

There are an estimated 126,000 refugees living in the UK. That’s just 0.19% of the total population (64.1 million people).

In 2014 the UK received 31,400 asylum applications. This was less than Germany (166,800), France (63,100), Italy (56,300) and Sweden (81,300).

Just 41% of people applying for an initial decision were granted asylum and allowed to stay.

Many are initially refused because it is difficult to provide the evidence needed to meet the strict criteria of a refugee.

(Source: British Red Cross)

This year Birmingham agreed to take just 50 Syrian refugees. This is an incredibly small number when you consider that by the end of August 2014, the UN estimated 6.5 million people had been displaced within Syria, while more than 3 million refugees had fled to countries such as Lebanon (1.14 million), Jordan (608,000) and Turkey (815,000).


How to Help

Asylum seekers are required to have been in the UK for six months before being permitted to participate in Skills Funding Agency (SFA) funded courses.

(Source: Refugee Council)

It is possible to teach English as a volunteer with refugee charities. This will be vital in the first six months when asylum seekers or refugees are not allowed to attend classes.

Here are a few of the charities in the UK dedicated to helping refugees:

British Red Cross
Restore UK
Refugee Action
Refugee Council

It is possible to donate money to and/or volunteer with these charities to show your support.

Liebster Award Nomination

I was lucky enough to receive the Liebster Award, by Meghan of Travelingking. Make sure to check out her amazing blog and follow her adventures! Thank-you so much, Meghan, for the nomination!

The Liebster Award was created to help new bloggers connect with each other, and spread awareness about bloggers who have less than 200 followers.


Here are the questions I have been asked to answer…

  1. Where are you from?

I’m from Cardiff, Wales, but I study in Birmingham, England. I have one more year left of university and after that I don’t know where I’m going to live!

  1. What was it that first motivated you to travel?

I was very fortunate and privileged to receive a means tested bursary that allowed me to attend a GDST school. During my school years I went on trips to Berlin, Krakow, New York, Washington DC, Paris, Croatia, and China. In sixth form I volunteered with the 5Cs charity in Belarus. A returned volunteer from a charity called Project Trust gave a presentation at my school, which led to my decision to teach English in Senegal for my gap year. I now give these presentations myself, and haven’t stopped travelling since!

Beijing, China
Beijing, China
  1. What is your best travel memory?

This is a ridiculously hard question, but now I’m looking down the list I can see a lot of them are very hard… It’s going to have to be something from Senegal. I lived with an amazing host family who I became really close to, so I think the best memory is really just being accepted into their family, and the community of Joal. Probably just the last week of my stay in Senegal, when my Wolof was the best it’s ever been and I had so many friends to say goodbye to, which made me feel like I was leaving my second home.

Joal, Senegal
Joal, Senegal
  1. What festival would you like to visit the most?

I was sure that I would go to Coachella when I studied abroad in the States last year, but sadly, going there from New Orleans would have been far too expensive. I still hope to go one day. I’d also really like to go to Primavera in Spain, and so many others. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the Saint Louis Jazz Fest in Senegal, Jazz Fest New Orleans, Voodoo Fest, Buku Music Fest, Glastonbury, Green Man, Bestival, and Reading Festival.

Buku, New Orleans
Buku, New Orleans
  1. What has been your scariest travel experience?

About six months in to my stay in Senegal I got mugged. I was feeling extremely comfortable and stupidly put all of my valuables in one bag. I was in the capital city, Dakar, and the next day I would be picking up my sister from the airport and travelling to the Gambia for my Easter holiday. When I got out of the sept-places (taxi) around 9pm, with two of my male Senegalese friends, three guys ran up to us and grabbed our bags. At one point I honestly thought we were going to die. It was like being in a nightmare. After they left I was screaming so much and crying and had to run into the road to hit car windscreens in the hope that someone would stop and pick us up. Luckily someone did. When we were in the car I noticed blood on my arm but I didn’t feel physically hurt. I thought maybe the adrenalin had numbed the pain. This wasn’t the case. It turned out that my friend had been stabbed in the head and the arm. We had to rush him to hospital where he was given stitches with no anaesthetic. Fortunately none of us were hurt too severely and my friend is completely fine now. Someone even found my passport, though I lost everything else, that was definitely the thing I was most happy to get back. I just kept reminding myself that this could have happened anywhere, I could have been in any city. We were just really unlucky, as this kind of violent crime is extremely rare for Senegal. I have returned to Dakar since and it’s been completely fine.

  1. Where is your favourite travel destination?

I love travelling to lots of different places, rather than having one favourite. However, I will probably go with India. I did an internship in Bangalore for two months, and also visited Pondicherry, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. India is incredible beautiful, the people are lovely, and the food is amazing – especially as a vegetarian.

Flower Market, Bangalore, India
Flower Market, Bangalore, India
  1. What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten abroad?

As I’m a vegetarian I haven’t eaten too many strange foods, although I did become a pescatarian for a year in New Orleans. I guess these foods are going to seem really normal to most people but for me it was weird eating crawfish and muscles. I couldn’t bring myself to try catfish or alligator – the other Louisiana delicacies. I did try a fried Oreo in America though, that’s pretty weird.

Crawfish, New Orleans
Crawfish, New Orleans
  1. Do you prefer travelling solo or with company?

I always prefer company. I think it’s great travelling with organisations as you always meet the nicest people and make great friends. This is definitely true for Project Trust, and Career Journal International. If you think travelling with these kind of organisations seems too expensive (which believe me – I did!) look out for travel bursaries and scholarships. After doing an application and an interview, I received £800 from the University of Birmingham to go to India, and £500 to go to Senegal through my secondary school). I have a bit of a fear of doing anything by myself. I recently went to London and saw the Carsten Höller exhibition at the Hayward and ate at the Southbank market alone, which was embarrassingly pretty good going for me.

Carsten Holler Exhibition, London
Carsten Holler Exhibition, London
  1. If you could only travel in one country, which would it be and why?

This is another crazy difficult question. At the moment I think I’m going to have to go with the USA because it is so vast and so varied. You have incredible cities like New York, Chicago, and New Orleans, as well as National Parks, some of the Seven Wonders of the World, etc.

Chicago, USA
Chicago, USA
  1. How long have you been blogging?

I started blogging when I moved to Senegal, so that would be four years ago.

  1. What inspires you?


I am nominating:

  1. Tansu from
  2. Elizabeth from 
  3. Olivia from
  4. Anju from
  5. Rachel from
  6. Carlotta from
  7. Keren from
  8. Lucy from
  9. Cammy from

Instructions for Nominees:

  • Create a blog post on your site, answering the questions that I’ve provided below.
  • In your post, be sure to link back to the blog who nominated you with a thank-you and shout out) (aka myself, Ciara from CIARA COHEN-ENNIS)
  • After completing the questions, add a section for your nominees. Select, list and link other bloggers with under 200 followers. Provide these instructions. Finally, create 11 questions for them to answer.
  • Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they know what to do.
  • Once you’re done, come back here and comment with the link to your post so I can check out your answers.

Questions for nominees (and visitors!)

  1. Where are you from?
  2. If you had to live in another country, which would it be and why?
  3. What is the luckiest thing that has happened to you while travelling?
  4. What festival would you like to visit the most?
  5. What has been your scariest travel experience?
  6. What travel destination most exceeded your expectations?
  7. What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten abroad?
  8. Where did you make the best friends on your travels?
  9. If you could only travel in one continent, which would it be and why?
  10. Do you prefer travelling in large cities or smaller towns and in the countryside?
  11. Where did you feel the most at home while abroad?

Fundraise to the finish line: UoB student driving to Mongolia for charity

Three students plan a crazy mission to drive to Mongolia, all in the name of charity


Three students, including Rhys Briggs, a third year UoB English Literature student, are raising money for Cool Earth and St David’s Hospice Care.

In order to raise the funds, the boys will be driving from the UK to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia. Instead of taking an easy approach in a 4×4, they intend to make this journey in a ’93 Nissan Micra, (and come out of it alive!)


Speaking to The Tab, Briggs said: “for some strange reason, this summer, we have decided to partake in the annual charitable event called the Mongol Rally.

“We will be attempting to drive across 1/3 of the planet, cross the borders of up to 20 countries and travel through a total of 8 time zones covering over 10,000 miles all in all.

“This will be done in the most unsuitable car with no modern technological navigation or communication aids. We are doing it not only for an incredible chance to see some of the wonders that this world has to offer but for great charitable causes. Will we survive? Who knows..”

Sion Thomas and Robert Morgan are joining Briggs on his crazy mission. Together, the boys have named their team ‘The Smart Casuals’.

empire strikes back Ken Lau

So far, the students have raised over £270, but their overall goal is £1000. Half of this will go to Cool Earth and the other half to their chosen charity.

The students’ choice, St David’s Hospice Care is committed to providing bespoke, individual care for all their patients and their families. They work alongside patients and hope to support them at the most difficult times in their lives.


To help them reach their target, sponsor the boys by clicking here.

You can also follow their progress on Twitter.

areal 1

Student Band Competition

Over the past five weeks, the i’s student brand ambassadors have held charity gigs at campuses nationwide, to raise money for the i Elephant Appeal. Each band that played submitted a song for consideration in this competition, and we have shortlisted the top five below.

The act with the highest number of votes at 5pm on Thursday 1 May 2014, will win an 8 hour recording session at Bowerman Studios.

Watch the videos of the bands and cast your vote by clicking here.


One of the shortlisted bands

Birmingham students brave poor diet and worse hygiene to camp out in university library for charity for a week and counting

Three students from Birmingham have set up permanent camp in the university’s library to raise money and awareness for Nightline.

David Franklin, Sam Jones and James Phillips have chosen to lock themselves in the library during deadline week. The students stress that university can be challenging for lots of different reasons and everyone needs support at times. They’re raising money for Birmingham Nightline, a telephone support service run by students, for students. Nightline offers confidential, non-judgmental advice from 6pm – 8am every night of term.

The students have set themselves some ground rules; they’re not allowed to leave the library at any time, they must spend the majority of their time working and they must be respectful of others studying around them. They said that the lock in will be “a battle of physical endurance, of mental strength and of supreme procrastination, but above all, it will be a battle to maintain personal hygiene.”

They’ve now raised over £1,000, which was their original target, after being in the library for seven days. Since starting their campaign, the students have been contacted by people who have experienced mental health difficulties. They said “we came into this wanting to raise money and awareness, we didn’t think we’d actually be directly helping people. People have come up to us saying they’ve had mental health difficulty and never spoken to anyone and our campaign has made them speak to someone for the first time.”

If you would like to sponsor Franklin, Jones and Phillips by donating to Nightline, please visit this website.Image

Living In The Library

Three UoB students staked out in the library for an entire week in aid of raising money and awareness for Birmingham Nightline.

With the library now being open at all hours and the thought of failing exams looming over you, the idea of being there 24/7 may seem a rather tempting prospect. UoB students David Franklin, Sam Jones and James Phillips decided to do just that. Not only are they trawling through as many books as they can, they’re also raising money for charity.

The boys said that “unlike the rest of our time at university, we won’t be lying around watching Come Dine with Me or shouting at Jezza!”


Franklin, Jones and Phillips have chosen to lock themselves in the library during deadline week – one of the most stressful weeks of the year. The boys stress that taking care of your mental health shouldn’t just be about one week, however, as uni can be challenging for lots of different reasons and everyone needs support at times. This is why they’re raising money for Birmingham Nightline, the service run by students, for students. Nightline offers confidential, non-judgmental advice and the line is open 6pm – 8am every night of term.

It's all for a good cause!

#LongLoanLockIn Rules:

1. The boys cannot leave the library building. (Eat, sleep, work, repeat.)
2. They must spend the majority of their time working. (Did we mention it’s deadline week?)
3. They have to be good library neighbours. (No blasting loud music, etc.)

The boys describe the #LongLoanLockIn as “a battle of physical endurance, mental strength and supreme procrastination, but above all, it will be a battle to maintain personal hygiene.” They’ve currently been in the library for five days-I hope that friends have been visiting with deodorant!

Taking care of personal hygiene

On their video blog, the boys talk about how they’ve been directly supporting people whilst in the library. They were shocked at how much anxiety and upset they’ve already come across:

“We came into this wanting to raise money, wanting to raise awareness, we didn’t think we’d actually be directly helping people.

“What’s been really good is people have come up to us saying they’ve had mental health difficulty and never spoken to anyone and that our campaign has made them come forward.”

To track their progress – watch the video blog here.

So far, Franklin, Jones and Phillips have raised a whopping £854.18 for Nightline! Click here to sponsor them. Some kind students have even opted to sponsor the boys per hour that they stay in the library – now that’s an incentive!

Much needed supplies