When chef and restauranteur, Osman, was granted refugee status after fleeing persecution, he was evicted from temporary accommodation with no home to go to. The Vicar’s Relief Fund paid his month’s rent in advance on a flat in Plymouth, where he is recovering from his PTSD and cooking meals for the refugee community. 

When his refugee status was granted and the eviction notice swiftly followed, Osman was put in touch with Students and Refugees Together (START) – a Plymouth-based charity working to help newly granted refugees with their resettlement. Reflecting on their first meeting, Osman’s support worker told us:

“He avoided eye contact, and his responses did not go beyond one or two words. Having gone through the scrutiny of proving the legitimacy of his asylum claim, he was distrustful of those in authority. Our first commitment was to work towards gaining his trust. Despite the many challenges, eventually we were able to obtain his consent, and assist him. He told me that the ability to cook his own meals had a therapeutic effect, by helping him focus attention away from traumatic thoughts.

Osman was a chef in his home country where he ran a restaurant with his father; tragically he had to flee his home due to persecution and had to leave everything behind. When he was granted refugee status, he was close to losing the security and stability of his accommodation as the Home Office could no longer provide for him. To some extent, this new loss was history repeating itself and Osman’s mental health deteriorated so his mental health team put safeguards in place.”

Hannah, Osman’s support worker at START

START informed the local authority of Osman’s impeding eviction and supported his homelessness application. The outcome was successful, and the housing officer was able to conclude that Osman had a priority need. Unfortunately though the interim accommodation he was placed in was not suitable, as the confined space had a triggering effect on his PTSD.

Thanks to further interventions an offer of social housing was made. The team applied for a grant from The Vicar’s Relief Fund for assistance and received a swift and positive response. The grant meant that Osman could pay the rent upfront and secure his flat.

He is now in permanent accommodation and appears to be content and genuinely thriving. Osman has the opportunity to do what he loves and share his delicious home cooked food and a punchy blend of spiced coffee with other people.

He has hopes of starting an ESOL course at a nearby language school in September and is joining our Cultural Kitchen project as a volunteer chef.

*Osman’s name has been changed to protect his identity, but his story is real.

Close Menu