How to help refugees in the UK

Refugees are people forced to flee their own country and seek safety in another country. They’re unable to return to their own country because of feared persecution as a result of who they are, what they believe in or say, or because of armed conflict, violence or serious public disorder.

 

According to UNHCR’s Mid-Year Trends, during the first 6 months of 2023 there were:

  • 110 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations and events seriously disturbing public order.
  • More than 1 in every 74 people on Earth has been forced to flee. 
  • Children account for 30% of the world’s population, but 40% of all forcibly displaced people. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by UK for UNHCR (@unrefugeesuk)

Thankfully, many people are eager to find out more about how to help refugees and asylumseekers in the UK. So we’ve put together some information and advice on how you can make a difference.

Donate and fundraise 

Donating and fundraising for refugees can be highly effective in improving the plight of refugees and make a big difference to their lives. UK for UNHCR is the official UK charity partner of UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), and we have lots of fundraising opportunities for you to take part in! Click here to find out more. If you’d like to donate directly, please visit our website.  

Speaking up for refugees

Refugees aren’t always made to feel welcome in the countries that they flee to. By speaking up for the rights of refugees, you can help to improve their situation. Many refugees want to learn the language of their new country so they can integrate into society, make a positive contribution and speak for themselves. Many groups are working to help refugees learn English and access healthcare, education and employment opportunities. For more information on how you can support UNHCR’s work here in the UK, please visit this page.

Make refugees feel welcome in your community

If refugees are settling in your area, reaching out and helping them to integrate is a great step to take. Befriending can help refugees to settle and get used to their new environment quicker. Many local communities run special schemes to welcome refugees, helping with language learning, and giving advice on seeking asylum, finding permanent accommodation and making new connections in the area. If you’d like to learn more about community sponsorship and how you can make refugees feel welcome in your community, please visit UNHCR’s website. To read more stories about community sponsorship in the UK, please visit.

Refugee volunteering 

Whilst we do not take on volunteers in the UK, there are many refugee organisations across the country which depend on the support of volunteers, including:  

 British Red Cross  
 Refugee Action  
 Refugee Council 
 Scottish Refugee Council 
 Welsh Refugee Council 

Befriending refugees can help them settle and get used to their new environment quicker.

Get informed. Share the facts. 

People often have misconceptions about refugees and asylum-seekers and sometimes fail to recognise their huge contribution to the UK. You can help change this by staying informed and sharing the facts. Find out more about asylum in the UK, follow us across our socials channels on X, Facebook, LinkedIn, Threads, TikTok and Instagram and read UNHCR’s latest report to keep up-to-date.

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However you decide to help, your time and support can make a huge difference to the lives of refugees across the UK. If you’d like to take action, there really are so many ways to do so: donating money, making refugees feel welcome, fighting misinformation, volunteering and campaigning to make their voices heard are great steps to take and every bit of support counts. Whether you’re helping refugees here or overseas, your contribution can make a huge difference.

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