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Support: Community

A refugee’s plight isn’t over if they’ve made it safely to the UK – but you can offer guidance with these community projects

There are lots of way to support the refugees within the community

Mentoring

Mentoring programmes have been set up to help refugees cope with isolation and loneliness. Both The Forum and Time Together are looking for mentors who are willing to pair up with a mentee and meet with them for several hours a week over the course of six months.

You'll be given training and have the support of a project coordinator, and the aim is to help refugees feel oriented and more involved in their community. Your role will vary week-on-week, from helping a mentee enrol into college, to involving them in group activities such a theatre workshops. migrantforum.org.uk; mandbf.org

Hospitality

London Welcomes Refugees is a brand-new initiative where Londoners can register their interest to meet and help refugees. Founder Stuart Rubenstein tells us it's about "welcoming newcomers with good old-fashioned hospitality, and is based around food and conversation."

The aim is fast-track integration into London life via the group's own well-established networks of people, who will offer advice based on their field of expertise – it could be a Syrian teacher meeting an English teacher, or a refugee doctor meeting a British medic, for example.

The group currently needs web developers to build its site, but is also looking for people with time, energy and ideas to sign up and attend its first meeting. It's in its very early stages, but you can visit facebook.com/londonwelcomesrefugees to register your interest.

Housing

There are an estimated 200,000 refused asylum seekers currently living in the UK who are destitute. These are people who have been unable to prove their asylum case to the government but say they are scared to return to their home country. Some asylum seekers must wait months or years for the outcome of their asylum claim, during which time they're prohibited from working and receive minimal or no financial support.

There are groups all over the UK who help these people find accommodation. Housing Justice provides housing for destitute asylum seekers in London, and is looking for hosts willing to offer a spare room in their home for people whose asylum or immigration claims are being addressed. Other hosting organisations include the No Accommodation Network, and My Refuge, an Airbnb-style site which enables people to offer a room to a refugee. housingjustice.org.uk; naccom.org.uk; myrefuge.world

Job help

The Migrants Resource Centre is looking for professionals to help its members find a job in their own field, or who can offer work placements.

Laura Marziale, the centre's community education and employment team coordinator, says: "Work experience in the professional field is really key and we always struggle with finding companies willing to accept our users." The centre is looking for volunteers to donate a couple of hours a week to help users search and apply for jobs.

If you're an experienced yoga or pilates teacher, Women for Refugee Women – an initiative which seeks to help women fleeing violence and severe persecution – is looking for a woman to teach yoga to a small class of asylum seekers near their offices in Old Street. Hackney City Farm is also looking for yoga teachers for refugees. migrantsresourcecentre.org.uk; refugeewomen.co.uk; hackneycityfarm.co.uk

Day centre help

The Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers is a day centre that provides support and seeks to secure rights for asylum seekers and refugees in Southwark. Services are far reaching, helping refugees and asylum seekers with health, housing and employment.

Members are offered lunch and can do gardening or attend art and writing groups. The day centre needs volunteers to help with the day-to-day running, from helping out in the kitchen to administrative work (some of which can be done from home). sdcas.org.uk

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