Below you will find a selection of resources provided by Friends of Refugees London, as well as signposting to relevant services which work to support refugees, people seeking asylum, and vulnerable migrants.
Friends of Refugees London documents and information.
Signposting to other services.
The services listed here usually have a wealth of information for clients as well as for volunteers on their websites. We mention them here to give you some background knowledge of the infrastructure of support for refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants. We do not expect any volunteer to directly contact any of the organisations below on behalf of their clients.
Many clients will have existing case workers, usually from the Refugee Council or LRMN, and volunteers should always direct their clients back to their case worker for any query FoRL cannot answer to them first, rather than attempting to resolve it themselves.
The Refugee Council is a national charity which supports the rights of refugees & migrants. In Lewisham, it is the lead resettlement agency, employed by Lewisham Council to deliver a broad range of services and provide intensive case work support to many resettled refugees when they first arrive. Clients should be directed here for all service-based enquiries, and for resettlement related queries such as family reunification.
Lewisham Refugee & Migrant Network (LRMN) is a leading migrants’ rights charity in south London. It is also a referral partner of Friends of Refugee London, which means many of our clients will be supported by their case workers. They have specialist advisers in immigration, housing, wellbeing, mental health and more. Many of their drop-in services should be a first port of call for FoRL clients.
Lewisham Council subcontracts most of the direct provision for refugees and migrants to other organisations, but it takes overall responsibility for the refugee resettlement scheme, and for the majority of statutory services refugees & migrants have access to: housing, healthcare and education services, social care, social welfare and so on. There is a dedicated team and a councillor for refugee rights - clients should be directed to these teams only for big issues that cannot be resolved via their formal caseworker or other organisations.
Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL) has a range of services to meet the needs of asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants and refugees in south east London. They provide several core services including a foodbank, a Saturday school for refugee children, advice and advocacy services, immigration advice, and wellbeing activities. Clients should be directed here for broad support, and for the Saturday school which is very popular.
Refugee Cafe is a social enterprise which aims to create living wage employment for refugee chefs, provide them with skills training, and eventually open a cafe. They also host community events, workshops, and feasts. Clients with an interest in enterprise, cooking, retail can apply for voluntary work and skills training.
Citizens UK is a national community organising charity which works to tackle injustice in our local communities. At a local level, they are excellent at supporting refugees in becoming agents of change and self-advocacy; campaigning for improved services; and developing relationships with other institutions. South London campaign areas currently include: affordable housing, youth safety, migrant rights, mental health, parenting, the climate crisis and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision.
Lewisham Donation Hub is a voluntary organisation which supports the homeless, those without recourse to public funds, refugees & others in the community facing hardship. They are based in Unit D, Place Ladywell, 261 Lewisham High Street, London SE13 6AY but PLEASE check their website or social media before referring your client to visit, as their opening times and the types of service they offer changes depending on day and their staffing and donation levels.
Lewisham Local is a community engagement tool which aims to bring people together. They have really useful tools for clients, such as a directory of volunteering opportunities and local charities looking for help; a Bank of Things where 11-25 year olds can access material and wellbeing support; lists of foodbanks and support organisations and much more.