One of the things we can do to better support refugee and migrant communities is to LEARN.

We can learn about policies affecting them both internationally and nationally. We can learn about the support services available for them across the UK – both statutory and non-statutory. We can also learn about the reasons for migration to gain a better understanding of why people are forced to flee their country of origin and undertake dangerous journeys to seek refuge in the UK. All of this will help us to better support refugees and migrants in our communities, and we can learn how to do this with the help of specialist organisations.

CSAN members:

CSAN has many member organisations active in supporting refugees and migrants, advocating on their behalf for a more welcoming environment. Below listed are some examples of our members’ work across the UK:

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)

JRS is an international organisation whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of those forcibly displaced. In the UK, JRS’ works with those who find themselves destitute due to government policies and those detained for the administration of immigration procedures.

JRS have published numerous reports and resources which raise awareness of conditions for refugees and migrants in the UK and are helpful to those wishing to support refugees and migrants and advocate on their behalf. They have also worked collaboratively with other organisations in the UK to campaign against the Rwanda plan. Further information can be found at: https://www.jrsuk.net/.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP)

The SVP is an international voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage by providing direct practical assistance to those in need. Across England and Wales, this includes advocating for the needs of refugees and migrants, providing frontline services and practical support within communities and promoting inclusion and integration.

They have some helpful resources on their website for those wanting to gain an understanding of the different terminologies and recent policies: https://www.svp.org.uk/migrants-refugees-and-people-seeking-asylum.

The Medaille Trust

The Medaille Trust are one of the largest providers of supported safe house beds for victims of modern slavery in the UK. They also work to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery in communities, including conducting outreach to women affected in the community and helping survivors throughout the legal process as they pursue judicial outcomes against their perpetrators.

Their website has many resources for those wishing to gain a better understanding of human trafficking and modern slavery, including case studies and how to spot the signs, as well as a podcast: https://www.medaille-trust.org.uk/.

In the wider community:

The Santa Marta Group

The Santa Marta Group is an alliance of police chiefs and bishops from around the world, working together with civil society to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery. This includes partnerships between the Church, police, business and civil society internationally.

Further information and resources can be found on their website: https://santamartagroup.org/.

The Clewer Initiative

The Clewer Initiative is the national work of the Church of England to combat modern slavery, raising awareness and mobilising churches and communities to take action. They have developed a number of tools, such as the Safe Car Wash app and the Farm Work Welfare app, and provide training and support across communities and faith groups.

Further information about their work, including resources, can be found on their website: https://theclewerinitiative.org/.

The Arise Foundation (Arise)

Arise is an international anti-slavery NGO, working to support frontline organisations and networks in countries affected by human trafficking. They work to amplify local voices and advocate for change.

Further information on their work can be found on their website: https://www.arisefdn.org/.

National Coalitions & Networks:

Across the UK there are numerous national organisations with a focus on specific migration related issues. They provide up to date information on policies and share findings from the frontlines, including raising awareness of current campaigns. Below listed are a few:

Together with Refugees

A coalition of organisations calling for a fairer and more effective approach to support refugees, one that is humane. Individuals and local groups can also get involved with their work: https://togetherwithrefugees.org.uk/?_gl=1%2A1hw7wi2%2A_ga%2ANDYxMTQ3OTI0LjE2NzU2OTg4ODI.%2A_up%2AMQ..

Asylum Matters

A charity working in partnership locally and nationally to improve the lives of refugees and those seeking asylum through social and political change. They have a wide range of resources available on their website, including reports and current campaigns. They also provide regular updates on ongoing advocacy initiatives, government developments and new research, all of which can be found on their website: https://asylummatters.org/

Migrants Rights Network

A charity working with grassroots, migrant led organisations to better understand the issues affecting them and how the wider community can help. https://migrantsrights.org.uk/get-involved/

Human Trafficking Foundation

The foundation provides a collective voice amongst NGOs, civil society, and voluntary organisations, to identify shortcomings in policy, and works with the authorities and statutory agencies to better inform them. Resources can be found on their website: https://www.humantraffickingfoundation.org/

There are many organisations and networks throughout the country, the above listed are a few of the main ones but you may find others. You can sign up to receive their newsletters and stay updated on developments from across the sector, including policy changes, campaigns and volunteer opportunities.


Image: Prayer vigil for refugees outside Westminster Cathedral

Credit: Mazur / CBCEW, Catholic Church England & Wales, Flickr