The Family Refugee Support Project was established in 1999 and grew out of concern among local health professionals about the lack of services for asylum seeking and refugee families living in Merseyside. Having originally been under the auspices of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, FRSP became an independent registered charity in 2003.
Apart from language, there are other barriers to accessing therapy for people who have experienced extreme trauma and who have come from cultures and backgrounds so different from the majority population in the UK. The western concept of counselling and psychotherapy are alien to many British born people, and even more so to families seeking asylum from different continents.
The profile of client families has changed along with government policy, seeing people seeking asylum in the UK being dispersed to Liverpool from different countries. Many have experienced complex and diverse traumas but with similar and devastating impacts on themselves and their family relationships.
In 2010, the Project developed its own garden to enable families who would struggle to manage an allotment or work in an allotment setting. This has enabled us to work with more vulnerable families, still allowing the medium of horticulture to enable growth and healing in a way that traditional ‘office based’ therapy cannot.