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About us.

Friends of Refugees London is a voluntary, non-profit, community organisation based in Lewisham which exists to support refugees, asylum-seekers, and vulnerable migrants navigate life in London. We are currently establishing ourselves as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Foundation), and we are now seeking volunteers to join us. We aim to become fully operational in June 2022.

OUR VISION

 

Inclusive and welcoming communities across London where refugees and other migrants are empowered and valued.

 

OUR MISSION

 

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.

OUR STORY

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 registering to be a charity, we will apply for funding, and we will grow to meet the needs not just of the 100 resettled families, but any refugee, vulnerable migrant, or asylum seeker.