Working closely as a companion to Welcome projects across the Angel Lodge dispersal area, Meet and Travel Together (MATT) aims to reduce stress and anxiety for asylum seekers needing to make their way from across the regions to a Home Office Substantive Interview at Waterside Court in Kirkstall, Leeds; an asylum case hearing at Phoenix House in Thornbury, Bradford; or a biometric scan at one of the post offices in Leeds. Meeting service users at Leeds Rail or Coach Stations, or Bradford Interchange, our volunteers act as guides and travel companions for their journey. Due to the nature and unpredictable length of interviews and hearings, our volunteers may not be able to stay the whole day with the client. It is therefore our goal to help familiarize our service users with the public transport system. We use buses instead of personal cars or taxis and do our best to ensure the client knows their way back for the return journey.
An important principle of MATT is to provide what moral support we can, even if for a short time. For our service users, these are unknown destinations in an unknown city, using unfamiliar systems of transport. The day they are about to face has the potential to be overwhelming, frightening, emotionally charged, and mentally and physically draining. Removing the added pressures of being lost with no way to ask for directions through providing a friendly, welcoming volunteer brings tangible and noticeable relief to our clients, who in turn have given us and our volunteers wonderful feedback and thanks.
Below you will find referral and volunteer application forms and a general info document outlining some details of the service, as well as a link to a Leeds Student Newspaper interview. Recently, MATT has merged with Welcome to Leeds and the referral form is for both of these, with specific travel details for single appointments found at the bottom. Should you wish to make a referral, apply to volunteer, have any other queries or wish to set up your own MATT project, please email [email protected].