I’m David turner I’ve been coming to Open Doors for eight years I’m no longer sure exactly how long as it’s vague now in the past. I first came when I heard about the project and that coincided with the fact that I had just finished editing a story of someone who had come as an asylum seeker to Hull just before the second world war they had come over from Austria as a Jewish refugee and it seemed to fit in with what we were doing now there were refugees from other places here. So I came along to help with just what I could. Being a linguist I thought I might be able to offer some language help but in fact I haven’t done very much in the way of language help since then just general work.
First of all I was here distributing food parcels but since then I’ve concentrated more on the reception desk where we receive people as they come in, issue vouchers for food parcels and money to those who are destitute and have no financial support at all.
Since I’ve been here getting to know some of the people I thought it would be a good idea if we could collect some of the stories to explain to people in the neighbourhood why people come to this country because there are a lot of misconceptions about what goes on. So we prepared a sort of sheet, a pro-forma saying to people what sort of questions people would like to know about and then we left it up to them to write their own story about how it came about. Because it was a pro-forma some of the stories are very similar but some are much freer some had friends who could speak better English and then it was all collected together and some of the people wanted to keep their identity a secret so pseudonyms were used.
The book is called Seeking Asylum is available from Open Doors for £5.00 all profits are given back to Open Doors to help particularly with the hardship fund. To buy a copy of the book call 01482 345132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos and interview © Quentin Budworth