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Social Justice

These are the charities helping refugees in the UK

People seeking asylum face a long list of challenges when they arrive in the UK. These refugee charities are fighting to make the system fairer

French police say more than 20 migrants heading to the UK have reportedly drowned in the Channel near Calais. As the number of people attempting the crossing reach record numbers, refugee charities are concerned the 30-mile stretch from Dover to Calais could become a “graveyard” this winter.

The upcoming Nationality and Borders Bill will make it even more perilous for people to seek asylum in the UK, experts have warned, as the legislation is set to criminalise those who arrive across the channel by dinghy and those who help people travel to the country for what the government deems illegal reasons.

They may have left behind the danger which initially put them at risk, but life in the UK isn’t easy for refugees and asylum seekers.

Here are some refugee charities doing invaluable work to support people fleeing persecution abroad, and those who support people who often find they face more persecution once arriving on British shores.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants challenges UK laws and policies which discriminate against migrants. 

The influential organisation campaigns at both grassroots and national levels, while supporting vulnerable people with legal advice to help them navigate the UK’s complicated asylum system.

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You can donate to the charity here, use their simple guides to write to your MPs about the hostile environment, or download the digital toolkit to learn more about the work needed to make the system fairer for migrants.

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Refugee Action

Refugee Action has been fighting for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers since 1981. In 2019/20, the organisation supported 875 people to rebuild their lives in the UK while helping another 3,000 access housing and other essential services.

As well as providing vital advice to people, the organisation is one of the refugee charities playing a key role in resettlement for many families while fighting to end the policies which can leave asylum seekers and refugees in destitution.

You can donate once or set up a rolling donation here.

Care4Calais

Care4Calais is a charity that works with refugees sleeping rough in Northern France. Since the “jungle” camp was closed in 2016, authorities have been determined to make sure another makeshift community doesn’t take root, so police regularly remove sleeping bags and other possessions. Care4Calais estimates there are currently 2,000 refugees with nowhere to go in the region. 

They are currently collecting winter coats to take over the Channel, and regular organise visits to give people support.

Find out more about the coat drive and how you can get involved on the Care4Calais website.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross is part of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, meaning the organisation supports people around the world who are forced to flee their homes.

In the UK, the charity says it is the largest provider of services for people who have nowhere else to go, helping more than 30,000 people a year who are at some point in the asylum process, including “refugees, asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants and survivors of trafficking”.

As well as supporting people directly, the British Red Cross stands up for the rights of vulnerable people through policy and advocacy work calling for a fairer and more effective system.

You can donate here.

Safe Passage

Every year unaccompanied children – at risk of abuse and trafficking – who fled danger at home arrive in the UK in their thousands. Safe Passage works across Europe ensuring these children find safety, security and nurturing, with a particular focus on campaigning in the UK. 

The charity has helped nearly 2,000 children to date. You can donate here.

Stop Mass Homelessness

Help us stop mass homelessness

Unless we act, the UK is facing a homelessness crisis 
this autumn.

NACCOM Network

NACCOM, otherwise known as the No Accommodation Network, consists of more than 140 organisations across the UK fighting to end poverty and hardship for refugees, asylum seekers and other people locked out of state support because of their immigration status.

The network campaigns for a “fairer, more humane” immigration system and has a particular focus on the barriers to secure housing for people seeking asylum, from which the organisations believe a person is more likely to be able to escape destitution.

You can donate to the cause here or join the 6,000 volunteers who have already contributed their time to a project.

Refugee Council

The UK’s asylum system is notoriously complex, unyielding and difficult to navigate. It means disadvantaged people can be left without the documentation they need to access housing and support indefinitely. 

Refugee Council campaigns to make the system fairer while working directly with people as they arrive in the UK, providing practical support, counselling and help integrating into their communities. The organisation also makes sure refugees and asylum seekers’ voices are heard, fighting to give them a say in the decisions which impact them.

You can donate once here or set up a rolling donation taken from your monthly pay pre-tax. 

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