Originally I’m from the Sudan. I lived in Egypt for 10 years where I had a toy and clothes shop it was a good business but sometimes caused me big problems.

When I left Egypt I came to the UK as a refugee because I had to leave.

People in Hull are nice and friendly and I have been given permission to look for a job.

At the moment I work as a volunteer at Open Doors, The One World Centre and H-Cas and I am looking for work in a shop as a cleaner or as a security guard.

I have many friends in Hull and this makes me happy.

Photos and interview © Quentin Budworth

Vladimer Antoniani


I am from Georgia and have been in the UK for two years. I came over in a Lorry from France. I like Hull people they are friendly and help me to forget stress.

I left because of the political problems. I was working for the government, then the politics changed from National Party No5 to Georgian Dream.

I had to leave immediately there was no way I could go back.

I like Open Doors project because it helps people with food parcels and clothes also taking people to the police station so that they can register each week.

I help every week as a volunteer, I am seeking asylum. I have two boys and a wife. The boys go to school here, they really like life in Hull, there are no problems. We want a new life,

Thanks to the government who help us with NASS payments and housing benefits. I eventually want to work here and support my family.

Photos and interview © Quentin Budworth

Balamirtham Venkatesan

Venkatesan Balamirtham

Here in Hull the people are very kind and friendly I have experienced no racism. I’ve lived in Hull for five years I originally came from India. I’ve been helped a great deal by Open Doors.

The best thing about Hull is the people it’s like my village. It feels like my home.

I am originally from Tamil Nadu I left because there were problems within my community. I am currently seeking asylum.

Open doors are very close to me. I also come here to the church to pray. I am sad if it’s not open.

Christmas time is my favourite time in Hull because people are very happy especially the children.

I came over from India with my son Subhash Venkantesan he has joined the army and is training to be a soldier he is 18 years old. I am very proud of him.

Sometimes people don’t understand our situation and that makes me sad.


Bala recently attended an appeal in Leeds and is anxiously awaiting the outcome. She is a regular attendee and volunteer at Open Doors.

Photos and interview © Quentin Budworth