1 Collect money or goods for refugees in European cities or camps (Calais, Lesbos etc.) – best to do this through one of the international NGOs working on the Refugee Crisis in different places throughout Europe and beyond such as Medecins du Monde, Red Cross etc. They all need money! If anyone wants to collect goods, clothing etc. or even to drive to a particular place to help, please check online for a very latest list of what particular organisations and places require as some places have received quite a lot of inappropriate donations while being in great need of other things.
2 Supporting refugees in the nearest dispersal area by fundraising or volunteering for a local City of Sanctuary group or other organisations. Some cities have voluntary hosting schemes for destitute asylum seekers which are likely to be in huge need of funds and voluntary help – contact NACCOM for details of where these are. In many places, local City of Sanctuary groups or other organisations run drop-ins or welcome projects or provide limited face-to-face advice and signposting and other services for asylum seekers and refugees which probably need more voluntary help,
3 Offer respite breaks and holidays – it can be really valuable for asylum seekers and refugees to get away for a day trip or even a few days into the countryside – to experience some local hospitality and culture, to practice English, and just to meet and share with people (don’t forget they have a great deal to offer as well as having needs). For other places doing this already see The Grange Home of Sanctuary and this article about a village welcoming asylum seeking women and their children and this news item from Wales. Contact your nearest group. Check our our Sanctuary Breaks pages.
4 Lobbying and campaigning – there are lots of online petitions etc. Our website is frequently updated with information about campaigns. Click here to sign up to our newsletters which have all the latest actions. Also you can ask your MP to join the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Refugees.
5 Working with your Council on Syrian resettlement – if you are not in touch already, do find out who in your Council is dealing with this. Many Councils have already pledged to take a small number of Syrians but may need reassurance that local people are supportive and will be welcoming in practical ways; others may still need encouragement to join in.
6 Working with your Council to accommodate unaccompanied asylum seeking children – the Dubs amendment of the Immigration Bill has resulted in a government commitment to resettling 3,000 unaccompanied asylum seeking children but this commitment will depend on councils coming forward to offer places. See for example the new Liberty Campaign to protect refugee children.
7 Local awareness-raising. – you could approach local organisations to pledge support (see Resources for sample pledge forms) or perhaps arrange for someone, especially a refugee, to come and talk to e.g. a school, church group or other local organisation. Ask either your nearest City of Sanctuary group or one of the national team if they can hep find someone to do this – we will do our best, though can’t promise to meet every request.
8. Local schools, universities, etc. could all become places of sanctuary even if there are no refugees in the community. For example a School of Sanctuary teaches about refugees in the curriculum even if no refugees represented amongst the student body.