Friends of Refugees London is a voluntary, non-profit, community organisation based in Lewisham which exists to support refugees, people seeking asylum, and vulnerable migrants navigate life in London. We are a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Foundation), UK Registered Charity Number 1200601.
Inclusive and welcoming communities across London where refugees and other migrants are empowered and valued.
To support refugees and other migrants start their new life in London through befriending and advocacy services to promote social inclusion and participation in local communities.
In 2015, the UK government responded to the growing refugee crisis by committing to open its doors to 20,000 refugees and instigating a Syrian resettlement scheme. A group of incredible volunteers in Lewisham, South London, came together with Citizens UK to campaign the local Council to extend this welcome to the borough - they planned peace walks, lobbied councillors, spoke to the media. Then, when the Council tentatively agreed to support the scheme by inviting 10 families, they found properties, raised money, sourced donations and recruited volunteers.
The scheme, and the community support behind it, was so successful that Lewisham committed to welcoming 10, then 20, then 100 families, all fleeing war, violence, conflict or persecution. To support this growing community, the group of Citizens UK volunteers grew and gained experience and knowledge; it developed a network across London and partnered with local service providers; it learned what refugees need most to help them settle into a new life.
Friends of Refugees London was born from the spark of this welcome movement.
Building on the legacy and experience of the previous group, in 2022, we are now a registered charity in our own right. We are recruiting and training volunteers, and actively working with our partners, the Refugee Council and Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network, to support clients. We are also applying for funding to grow to meet the needs of any refugee, vulnerable migrant, or person seeking asylum in our local community.