Fatima House is a partnership project offering shelter to female asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and homeless. Located in Birmingham, up to eleven women can be housed there at any one time.
More than merely a roof over their heads, it offers a warm welcome to the women who stay there, with activities and house meetings creating a nurturing community and sense of home. It offers a safe place for the women to stay while being supported with their asylum claims.
Women are referred to Fatima House by specialist agencies, including Restore, Migrant Help, St Chad’s Sanctuary, Asirt, Brushtrokes, the British Red Cross and others. These specialist agencies support the women with their asylum claim and with moving their lives forward.
How Fatima House came into being
The project began in 2015 when the Archdiocese was considering how it could respond to the refugee crisis. During this time, the need to support destitute refugees and asylum seekers already living in the Diocese became apparent. To respond to this existing need, a Birmingham priest offered a parish building that he felt was too big for his needs to the Diocese. The Archdiocese decided to use this building to house homeless asylum seekers.
Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham led the initial stages of the project, bringing together partner organisations to develop and oversee it. Father Hudson’s Care researched the work needed to make the building suitable for its new purpose, and the Archdiocese paid for the renovations to be carried out. The Columban Missionaries offered to manage the running of Fatima House on a day-to-day basis, and volunteers from the parish donated items to welcome the first arrivals.
After months of hard work from everyone involved, Fatima House welcomed its first two women in July 2016. By the time of the official launch in November 2016, it was almost full with nine women living there.
Providing ongoing support
In July 2017 Fatima House celebrated its first anniversary. The partner organisations continue to support by meeting regularly as a management committee and steering group. They also assist with fundraising, collating donations and managing referrals. Father Hudson’s Care supports the governance, building and financial management. And the Columban Missionaries manage the project on a day-to-day basis, ensuring it runs smoothly and the women are well supported.
Volunteers from the parish and the St Vincent de Paul Society offer befriending and support to the women staying there. The St Vincent de Paul Society also provides access to a small weekly Financial Support Fund. Many other groups, organisations and individuals support the project by donating food, clothes and toiletries and household items.
Fatima House has an ongoing need for donations of essential items, particularly toiletries, household cleaning products and non-perishable food. Tinned vegetables are especially welcomed. If you would like to make a donation or want to know more about the project, email email@example.com or call Father Hudson’s Care on 01675 434000.
You can donate to Fatima House on the JustGiving page – please specify that you would like the money to go to Fatima House.