Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


DASH's clients, who are asylum seekers and refugees, are frequently socially isolated, robbed of a role in civic society and suffer from poor mental and physical health.

Whilst waiting for a decision to be made on their asylum claim - a process which may take several years - asylum seekers are living in limbo. This fact, compounded by several other factors, eg penury, lack of human contact, concern for family members left behind, inactivity, the negative perceptions of the host community, can have a catastrophic impact on mental and emotional well-being. The vast majority of asylum seekers, some of whom are well-qualified, with professional backgrounds, are not allowed to work. Inevitably, confidence and any sense of self-worth rapidly evaporates.

Refugees are allowed to work but English skills may be poor and work very hard to come by, meaning that they often suffer the same adverse consequences of social isolation and inactivity as asylum seekers.

We plan to develop our existing pilot catering service, currently wholly staffed and led by volunteers, into a community enterprise, with its own premises. The benefit to DASH's clients, who are asylum seekers and refugees, is to give them valuable and meaningful activity, training and work-related experience. An additional benefit is that a successful community enterprise would make DASH financially self-sustaining, thereby securing the provision of all its other services to clients, into the future.

The Taste of Freedom cooks are mostly client volunteers, who have worked in kitchens in their countries of origin. Some have experience of managing high-end restaurants. The team produces buffet meals, which are sold to groups and individuals. The food is cooked and prepared in a kitchen with a five star hygiene rating and delivered to the homes, offices and community centres of customers.

The existing menu offer is versatile and flexible. The varied cultural backgrounds of the client volunteers make it possible to offer a variety of cuisines, including Middle Eastern, Malaysian, Thai and Indian, Customers can also make bespoke requests for particular types of meals and dishes. The emphasis is on healthy eating, using locally grown and sourced produce. Links with suppliers are being developed.

The aim of the project is to consolidate and then expand Taste of Freedom, to the point at which it can provide a steady income stream for DASH. Currently, Taste of Freedom is operating at the limits of what can be achieved by a wholly volunteer work force. As the project expands it will require paid staff, to manage the business and to support and organise volunteers.

We aim to appoint a Project Co-ordinator who will liaise with customers and potential customers, secure bookings, manage the Taste of Freedom Team, price orders and handle the project budget.

In order to maintain a steady stream of orders, a marketing strategy will be developed and delivered. Currently bookings rely largely on personal contacts. If the project is to grow, as we intend, its offer must be sold to the general public. This includes the development of an interactive ordering web-site for Taste of Freedom.

Increasing capacity will require the purchase of additional commercial equipment, for cooking, transporting and serving, eg a moveable, commercial cooker, commercial quality pans etc, insulated containers for delivery and kitchen and serving uniforms for volunteers.

We also want to carry out a feasibility study around acquiring premises for the project and establishing a healthy food cafe.

DASH (Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield)

Moment of Pride

This project gives dignity and purpose in life to asylum-seekers who are not allowed to earn any money and may wait years for a decision on their case. Further, it aids integration by bringing people from many communities to work together.

Location: Huddersfield