January 15, 2017

Resources

The following are organisations that are helping refugees integrate.
If  you’re a business, school, community organisation, group or club who would like to offer support to newly-arrived refugees, or you know of a group/organisation that does, please get in touch.
 
 
English lessons
 
  • Breaking Barriers offer a series of free courses include employment language skills, CV writing, understanding the British working system etc. For more advanced individuals, they run mock interviews and assessment centres and presentation training.
  • Chatterbox, a language learning business, employs refugees and asylum seekers to teach their own languages online or in-person in London. One of our residents who helps with Chatterbox was recently interviewed by BBC London.
  • The Ahlan wa Sahlan, a Facebook group is run by Syrians for Syrian refugees and is an informal conversation class twice a week. They always need volunteers and you don’t have to be qualified to help.
  • Hammersmith and Fulham libraries offer ESOL conversation groups (and other group activities). Opening times are:
    • Hammersmith Library: Monday 10.30am – 11.30am, Thursday 10.30am – 11.30am (limited numbers)
    • Shepherds Bush Library: Saturday 10.30am – 12.00 noon (limited numbers)
    • Askew Road Library: Saturday 2.00 pm -3.00 pm
  • The Austin Forum (at the Augustinian Centre -behind St Augustines church – in Hammersmith) have free English lessons. 
  • RefuAid Language grants provide a limited number of grants for resettled refugees to improve their English and take English language exams.

Education

  • SOAS Scholarship Scheme is intended to provide displaced people, who do not have access to student finance, with the opportunity to take their first steps in higher education in the UK. These scholarships will be available for up to six undergraduate and one Master’s students commencing their degree in 2017/18. To qualify:
    • Candidates must have no access to student finance (so typically people in the process of seeking asylum or with various forms of limited leave to remain, not people who have obtained refugee status). 
    • Scholarship application deadline is 1st March, and prior to this candidates must have secured an offer of admission for an eligible programme (most of the places are for undergraduate programmes).
  • LSE Refugee Scholarships. LSE is significantly increasing its funding for scholarships for asylum seekers and refugees. The School will increase the funds available to nearly £500,000 per year for students classified as asylum seekers, or those awaiting the outcome of an asylum application, and who have been offered a place to study at the School.
  • The University of East London has joined with several partners across Europe to offer a free, new short course known as the Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) that will give refugees and asylum seekers the educational grounding to progress to a foundation course and ultimately a full bachelor degree.To find out more and apply, email Dr Aura Lounasmaa
  • Student Action for Refugees is a national network of student groups working to improve the lives of refugees in the UK. The website provides links to local groups at various universities who campaign and volunteer. There is a valuable list of universities offering scholarships, bursaries, fee waivers and fee reductions for asylum seekers and refugees.

Career Advice

  • Refugee Council, Refugees into Teaching. A service to help refugees with a background in teaching to re-qualify and find work in England. They provide training workshops and the possibility of school placements.
  • RefuAid Access Loan RefuAid will provide and administer micro loans of up to £10,000 to internationally trained refugees in order to assist them in obtaining UK accreditation, upgrading, or training that will allow them to return to employment in their pre- immigration professional and trade fields. Subject to eligibility.

Befriending support and recreational activities:

  • Refugee Support Network provide a range of services which help 15 – 25 year olds seeking safety in the UK to get into, stay in and do well in education. Primarily aimed at unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
  • Host Nation is a befriending organisation. It helps connect those seeking to befriend a refugee with refugees.
  • Young Roots supports young refugees and asylum-seekers and runs youth activities such as football, cookery, and English support in North London and Croydon.
  • Just Bread brings together the refugee women of London to share their skills, creativity and cultural heritage whilst acquiring the skills of a professional baker. 
  • The Bike Project is a scheme whereby you can donate your old bike and these guys will fix it up and give out to a refugee in London. If you collect more than ten they will come and collect.

Advice on asylum 

  • Migrant Help runs an Asylum Helpline on 0808 8000 630. They also run a helpline in Arabic on 0808 8000 624
  • Asylum Aid offers free legal advice for asylum seekers.
  • Refugee Action offers advice for asylum seekers, as well as support.

Temporary housing

  • Room for Refugees is a scheme set up in 2003 by Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) to connect asylum-seekers and refugees of  various nationalities with hosts with a spare room. They offer hosting for a minimum of 1 month with a 1 week trial period.
  • Refugees at home is a charity which connects asylum-seekers and refugees who have just received their leave to remain, with hosts with a spare room. They work with a range of nationalities. They offer emergency/short-notice hosting as well as short-term hosting.
  • Homes for Syrians is a charity which connects Syrian refugees who have just received their leave to remain and need to get on their feet, with hosts with a spare room. Hosting lasts for up to 6 months, in respect of individuals or couples.

Other Resources

  • Nawaal Benevolence Fund is a Muslim community charity which can provide general or specific grants to those in need. Applications can be made via the website.
  • Refugees Aid app: mobile app shows migrants, refugees and aid workers where services are closest to them on a map with a very simple interface. Whether you are a migrant, refugee or aid worker, you can download the app in the following countries: UK, Belgium, France, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Italy and Greece. The app will soon be available in other European countries, the US, Latin America and Jordan.
  • Welcoming Syrian Refugees: An Introductory Guide This booklet offers simple guidance on how local individuals, charities and groups in the UK can help welcome refugees into our communities. It explains some of the issues surrounding the process with materials and input from groups around the country. Coordinated by Migrants Organise, Citizens UK, the Rural Refugee Network and the Entrepreneurial Refugee Network.