Open Door for Asylum Seekers and Refugees



St. Clements Centre Map

St. Clement’s Centre, Cross St, Oxford, OX4 1DA



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A Documentary
A documentary about the difficulties that Asylum Seekers & Refugees experience in the UK, 2009.

Asylum seeker

Click on the image to see this video on Youtube (this will open in a new window).

Hassan's Story

An account of a sucessful outcome - Open Door's Head Chef Hassan

2013 and 2014 have been important years in the life of Open Door’s head chef, Hassan. Hassan first came to Open Door as an asylum seeking unaccompanied minor. Hassan is a Kurd, from Iraq. As with other Kurds living in his area, his childhood was difficult and he experienced violence and discrimination from the state. As a teenager, Hassan fled to the UK to seek protection.

Hassan began to come regularly to Open Door, in order to get a healthy hot meal and to relax in a welcoming and safe social space. Even after he was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, Hassan continued to come to Open Door. In addition to enjoying the company that Open Door provides, Hassan was able to benefit from additional services that we signposted him towards. For example, we were able to find Hassan an English for Speakers of Other Languages course with the County Council, to help Hassan improve his spoken and written English.

Over time Hassan became a volunteer at Open Door himself, initially helping our coordinator set up and clear away the tables and chairs, and eventually, around 2008, coming into the kitchen to help with food preparation and the washing up. Eventually, he started helping with the cooking and quickly became the lynchpin in the cooking team, producing increasingly varied and delicious meals for Open Door.

Hassan xmas lunch

Open Door was able to organise and fund the opportunity for Hassan, and other users of our services, to study for a Level 2 Food Safety training course. Hassan passed the course and as a result now has a nationally accredited qualification. Hassan was invited to become a trustee of Open Door, a position he was pleased to accept, and also often cooks large meals for fundraisers and charitable causes. At the end of 2012, after four years of tireless voluntary work for Open Door, Hassan’s dedication and generosity was recognised when he was awarded a volunteer award by the OCVA at the Oxfordshire Charity and Volunteer Awards ceremony in the town hall.

In 2013, Hassan successfully beat many other bidders to win a City Council pitch in central Oxford and is now trading with his own food takeaway van. He employs a number of other refugees and to reflect the warm and continuing relationship that he has with our charity, Hassan has even decided to call his business ‘Open Door Kebabs’.

Hassan kebabs

In January 2014, we were all delighted to congratulate Hassan on becoming a British citizen. He has already contributed a great deal to Oxford and the wider British society and we wish him all the very best in the future.

Hassan citizenship Hassan citizenship award


Registered Charity Number 1150626