Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000


AFRIL is a small locally run charity, working with refugees and vulnerable migrants to relieve poverty and social isolation. We are based in Lewisham, one of the most deprived local authority areas in England, with a very high refugee and asylum seeker population. We work to relieve poverty and isolation amongst this vulnerable group, advance their education, and provide services to improve social integration. Since our creation in 2006, we continue to help an average of 120 people in our local community each week - with education, family support services, and access to emergency supplies.

It is our mission to help refugees and vulnerable migrants help themselves by:

- Empowering them to acquire skills and knowledge.
- Finding out about and accessing services.
- Providing volunteer experience to build their skills.

The ultimate aim is to enable them to become less dependent on support, giving them access to advice to understand their rights and their potential, give them meaningful experience and skills through education and volunteering opportunities and helping them to break their cycle of poverty and positively contribute to society.

To do this, we provide an advice service English classes for adults, a supplementary school for primary age children, support with clothes, food and other essentials and opportunities to meet others in the community.

Many of the services that refugees need are not accessible to them for a variety of reasons – policy, English language proficiency, or awareness. Our Advice Service is filling a critical and growing gap in the advice service network in the region.

We provide advice and support on the following topics:

- Healthcare
- Debt
- Welfare
- Work and employment
- Consumer concerns
- Education
- Housing

Our services offer a vital support network for refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants.

The essential services we provide are oversubscribed and we are at risk of not providing adequate support or worse, turning clients away due to lack of capacity. Support from Aviva’s Community Fund would help us to continue to deliver our holistic advice/information service to refugees and vulnerable migrants, directly reducing their poverty and isolation.

Creating a community that welcomes refugees is simple. It’s about offering sanctuary, a space where people can live with safety and dignity. With your help we can continue our work ensuring that refugees and vulnerable migrants feel welcome and help build bridges between communities for the benefit of us all.

Action for Refugees in Lewisham

Location: London

Refugees are not strangers, they are us. We all have the same basic needs, hopes and fears for ourselves and our families. AFRIL strives to provide people using our services with the skills and confidence to live independently with dignity and safety, and to feel included in their community.
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