Supporting Refugees in the UK

When refugees first arrive in the UK it can be bewildering for them.  Navigating a new country and a foreign language is a big challenge, made worse if you have no money and are scared and alone.   Our volunteers meet up with refugees to provide a friendly face and helping hand. We collect and distribute of clothes, shoes, mobile phones and other essentials.  We can also help them to access services such as legal aid, English lessons or public transport. 

We are always looking for new volunteers to help with this.  To get involved, or for more information, please email

For useful information and resources to help with this work please see below:

Fundraising can be hard work so here are some tips to get you started and to make sure you maximise the amount you raise. If you are purchasing new items we can help you to get the best deal possible when you order essentials including clothing and smartphones

Refugees arriving in the UK are often eager to integrate into society and build new lives. Helping them find ways to practice English is one of the most valuable things you can do to support them. Find out how you can help them learn this vital skill.

Refugees who have legal advice have a much better chance of getting asylum, and faster too, but it’s a matter of finding a lawyer who can help them via legal aid. Many refugees can’t read and write well in English, and their phones may have been confiscated by the Home Office; how are they going to get on google and find help? So, in a nutshell that’s what we do.

It’s amazing the difference it can make, matching up a refugee with a lawyer who can fight for them. Volunteers give us the contact details for refugees who have made it to the UK, and we get as much information as we can and pass it on so that the lawyer can help.

If you know a refugee who needs our help please email or ask the refugee to WhatsApp 07519 773268

Asylum seekers are entitled to free medical and dental care in the UK. Care4Calais have produced a helpful information sheet explaining how asylum seekers can get registered with a doctor and dentist, and what they need to do to ensure their access to health care is free. The text is repeated in Arabic and Farsi and can be download here.

For easy to understand information and advice on the asylum process see Right to Remain – Toolkit this includes videos in many languages.

The following free helpline is very good: 020 7553 7470. It is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 1pm. The helpline is free and confidential. JCWI: Our Helplines

For more in depth analysis and to keep up to date with legal developments we recommend Free Movement

The safety and security of everyone involved in our work is our first priority. Here you will find essential information about how Care4Calais keeps our staff, volunteers and the people we support safe. Please make sure you read this before heading off to meet refugees.

Not sure what items to collect? Here is a helpful list of the items that the refugees we support most need.

We’ve created a useful information leaflet for the refugees you meet during your volunteering. Simply download the Word document and fill in any relevant local information. We can help with cheap printing costs if you would like to distribute these leaflets in your hotel.

The Asylum Accommodation and Support Contracts (AASC) govern the relationship between the Home Office and the three companies contracted to provide asylum accommodation in the UK: Clearsprings, Mears and Serco.

Asylum Matters has produced summary and detail guides setting out information on these contracts.

  • There is an obligation in the contracts for accommodation providers to liaise and cooperate with other actors, including the voluntary sector and including through participation in multi-agency forums
  • All asylum accommodation is always required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped

Volunteers have had success working with the accommodation providers to improve food provision and other services to asylum seekers. It helps to know the standards to which they can be held accountable.

Download summary

Download full guide

Full guides to what asylum seekers can expect, and what is expected of them, while living in asylum accommodation have been published by the Home Office. These are available here:

Download in English

Download other languages

Asylum seekers who arrive in the UK are often traumatised by the events they have suffered and witnessed. The support available is often inadequate and hard to find. We have put together some resources to help you access NHS, charities and local support groups.

Case studies

Other UK support work

Volunteer with Care4Calais to help refugees from our fantastic back office operation. We are always in need of further support, including:

  • Logistics management; communication with, and coordination of, our many collection points around the UK; optimisation of most needed donations and our procurement function; management of the logistics of getting donations to and from our three UK hubs; arranging deliveries and transport to and from Calais.
  • Drivers, both within the UK and from the UK to Calais.
  • Communications with volunteers; management of health and safety; data protection; safeguarding and internal staff management and policies
  • Fundraising, research and support, campaigning for refugees’ rights
  • Communications and marketing skillsdesign, social media and copy-writing
  • General admin and finance

OR start a Collection Point

If you have some time to devote to helping refugees in the UK, please get in touch with us at with a brief summary of why you are interested in helping, whether you have any particular experience or skills that you would like to use (i.e. administrative, communications, social media, design etc) and how much time you could offer per week or month. If you have an up to date CV please attach that so we can get an idea of your background. We will then work out the best way you might fit into our team and get back to you with some ideas. There is so much to do – we’d love to have you involved!

Other ways to get involved

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