Swindon asylum seeker charity helps 'record numbers'

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A Swindon charity that helps asylum seekers and refugees says it has seen "record numbers" of people in the past year.

Some 689 people from 55 different countries made 6,269 visits to the Harbour Project's drop-in centre between April 2009 and March this year.

A spokesman said it had been an 11.3% increase from the previous year.

It was the highest figure since records began in 2002, he added.

Gemma Rutland, from the charity, said most of the people seeking help were from Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Somalia and Afghanistan.

She said assistance included helping people access a solicitor, finding help with English classes and giving advice.

She said: "This is the only organisation in Swindon that we know of that helps asylum seekers and refugees, so I think it would be a real shame if there wasn't somewhere where they could seek advice in a friendly and welcoming environment."

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