As of June, the UK had taken in just over 65,000 Ukrainian refugees, with the government implementing the Homes for Ukraine scheme to accommodate them.
And about 18,000 people have been resettled from Afghanistan in the UK after the Taliban took control of Kabul in August 2021.
These prominent crises have put a renewed focus on life as a refugee in the UK. Thousands volunteered to house a Ukrainian refugee – but for many that wasn’t an option.
If you’re looking to help and support refugees in the UK, 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.
These are the refugee charities making a difference in the UK:
Around 7.5 million children are at risk as Russian forces continue the assault on Ukraine, according to the humanitarian charity.
Its staff are helping families in the warzone access clean water and food, protecting child health and protection services and supporting refugees in neighbouring countries.
Just £46 could help provide a family with an emergency water and hygiene kit, the charity said. Donations can be made online here.
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.
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.
#HelpUkraine emergency appeal
The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain is raising cash which will then be distributed between trusted charities in Ukraine, providing food, medicine and other essentials for those affected by violence or displaced from their homes.
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.
Save the Children
UK charity Save the Children is working urgently to support young people impacted by the invasion of Ukraine, both home and abroad.
As well as providing essential supplies to people affected by the violence, money donated through their emergency appeal will go towards cash grants for families and psychological support for children.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Refugees at Home
If you’re looking to directly help a refugee, Refugees at Home may be the charity for you. There is pressing need, too: more than 650 Ukrainian refugee households have been to councils in England to avoid homelessness, new government figures revealed.
The charity matches up refugees facing homelessness with hosts who have a spare room. It makes checks on guests and arranges follow-up visits, describing hosting as an unpaid “altruistic relationship”. Refugees at Home works with the Refugee Council and British Red Cross.
Women for Refugee Women
Female refugees fleeing torture, persecution, and sexual violence can find themselves arriving in the UK not to safety and a warm welcome, but to a fresh set of challenges.
By providing English lessons, drama classes, and amplifying women’s voices, Women for Refugee Women helps refugee women rebuild their lives.
The charity works with over 300 refugee and asylum-seeking women. It aims to amplify their voices and to change asylum policy.
As one of the charities behind a legal case against the failed Rwanda deportation flight on June 14, Care4Calais has been in the public eye recently.
Its work is rooted in helping refugees in the UK, Northern France, and Belgium, providing clothing, bedding, and food.
“We believe in a fair and tolerant British society and advocate for a welcoming and inclusive attitude towards refugees,” its website says.
It is also leading the challenge against the government’s Rwanda deportation deal, saying: The one thing all refugees have in common is that something truly terrible has happened to them, and now they are facing the further trauma of deportation across the globe.”
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