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Brushstrokes mission is to support vulnerable groups including newcomers to the UK and support their integration. We work with asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants in Smethwick and West Birmingham. The services they provide include:

  • ESOL teaching from pre-entry to Level One taught by volunteers and college tutors. This includes ESOL for Health to help newcomers understand how to access health services.
  • Practical resources to those in need including food, clothes, household items and baby packs and equipment.
  • A befriending service to newcomers including home visits to people who are isolated.
  • A peer mentoring scheme supporting tenants in the private rented sector. They offer a holistic package of support to people on the asylum pathway.
  • They provide advice surgeries: debt and energy advice, a work club to support people seeking employment, health activities.
  • A place of welcome cafĂ©, trips and social activities and volunteering opportunities for service users and others.

Current developments include: monitoring the impact of Right to Rent legislation on migrants, developing neighbourliness and community cohesion in Smethwick, working with creative black country to increase access to arts activities by newcomer groups.

Brushstrokes has a volunteer co-ordinator who recruits and supports our volunteers, we have a very dedicated team of volunteers from across Birmingham and the Black Country.


Volunteer opportunities are available to welcome visitors to the centre and to provide all the services listed above – see their website for more information on what’s involved and how to apply.

We rely totally on donations to meet the needs of asylum seekers and refugees, particularly those who are destitute or in crisis. Donations are always most welcome. These include all types of baby equipment, baby clothes and blankets, tinned and packet foods and toiletries. We are in need of warm clothes, particularly for young men and children from one to three years. An all year round need is for household items including bedding and kitchen essentials.