©InfoThe Red Cross has a long tradition of providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. As a leading humanitarian organisation, we often need to respond quickly and effectively to crises – for example, by supporting large-scale arrivals or providing emergency provisions for those facing severe hardship.
How do we help people?
The Red Cross supports refugees in a wide number of ways, from providing emergency provisions for those facing severe hardship to giving orientation support and friendly advice to the most vulnerable. Our services include:
Our orientation service provides short-term support to help vulnerable and newly arrived refugees adapt to life in a new country. Since many of our trained volunteers are refugees themselves, they speak a wide range of languages and can offer valuable support and advice. Wherever possible, all our information materials are translated into the main refugee languages.
In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of asylum seekers facing destitution. From new arrivals to failed asylum seekers, thousands each year find themselves cut off from welfare benefits and entirely dependent on our support. In such cases, we can provide short-term emergency support and expert advice on accessing whatever limited resources are available to them.
Each year, scores of unaccompanied young refugees arrive in the UK having fled their homes in traumatic circumstances. Our peer befriending volunteers offer a friendly welcome in an uncertain environment, providing useful advice and helping young refugees to develop their language and social skills.
Female refugees overwhelmingly come from countries where their rights have been severely restricted, and often lack the language skills and self-confidence to cope independently in an unfamiliar new environment. The Red Cross’ Women in crisis projects provide one-to-one social and emotional support, helping clients to access their basic rights and rebuild their lives.
Sometimes refugees flee persecution in their own country only to find that the country in which they seek asylum cannot offer protection or basic human rights. In such cases, resettlement to a third country is often the only safe option. The Red Cross plays a specific role in bringing around the reunion of families who have been separated around the world, and who have been allowed by the Home Office to join their families in the UK.
We are pleased to be granted approval as exempted advisers under the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner Codes and Rules in respect of the following services:
OISC Ref. No. N200900005 - UK Office (Level 1 - Resettlement only)
OISC Ref. No. N200900010 - East Anglia Area Office (Level 1)
OISC Ref. No. N201100019 - Woking Area Office (Level 1)
In some cases, we can help pay travel costs for refugees whose families live overseas and have been granted a visa to come to the UK. To find out if you're eligible for our family reunion travel assistance scheme, please contact your local refugee services co-ordinator.
When large numbers of people arrive in the UK following a political or humanitarian crisis, the Red Cross is there to offer practical care and support. In the past, we have helped to manage the arrival of refugees from Bosnia and Kosovo, and evacuees from the Lebanon.
What skills and training do our volunteers have?
Our trained volunteers support thousands of people every year, helping them to access local services and adjust to life in a new country. For those who may feel alone and afraid in a strange new environment, our support can transform their lives. Many of our volunteers have multi-lingual skills, and a significant number are themselves refugees who were previously helped through the asylum process by the Red Cross.
How do I get in touch?
The British Red Cross provides services to help refugees and vulnerable migrants only in specific areas across the UK. However, we also provide useful links to many other organisations that can help refugees in the UK.
Could I volunteer for this service?
Volunteers for this service need good interpersonal skills and to be sympathetic to people of different backgrounds, ages and physical and psychological needs who are faced with a difficult and stressful situation. Language skills are desirable but not necessary. Become a refugee services volunteer.
Where to find us