Covid-19 emergency – Refugee Council response - Refugee Council
March 19, 2020

Covid-19 emergency – Refugee Council response

Refugee Council has always provided a lifeline to refugees and people seeking asylum, but now our work is more critical than ever before.

We will continue to provide vital services for refugees and we have plans in place to deliver critical support in new and different ways, making sure we reach those who need help the most.

Our first priority is ensuring our clients, volunteers and staff are safe. This means helping our clients know what they need to do to stay safe during the pandemic by having access to relevant information, in a language they understand. We’ve been sharing  translated versions of the updated NHS guidelines and resources on how to stay safe from Covid-19, produced by Doctors of the World.

Where possible our staff and volunteers are working from home and we are implementing new measures to support them to do this as comfortably and safely as possible.

In order to maintain much-needed support for our clients during this critical time, where many will be vulnerable and isolated, we are supporting people digitally since face-to-face support is no longer possible – primarily by phone and email. This means that our therapists will still be able to support people with mental health issues and our advisors will still be able to offer information, advice and support.

We are also setting up digital groups so that we can maintain the social element of our group services as much as we possibly can to help people still feel connected – for example for our ‘Conversation Clubs’, which enable our clients to learn and practise their English while meeting other refugees at the same time.

We are ensuring our most vulnerable clients are still getting the critical necessities by handing out food and money parcels at our service for refugees who are destitute and homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

We are calling on the Home Office to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of refugees and people in the asylum system in these uncertain times. Along with other charities supporting refugees, we are in direct and regular dialogue with the Home Office to ensure that refugees and people seeking asylum remain protected, and that the current emergency does not interfere with the support they receive and interaction they need to have with the relevant public bodies. Keep watching this space for more information on what we are calling on the Government to do to ensure the safety of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Finally, you can help us. In response to the Covid-19 emergency we have established the Refugee Solidarity Fund so that we can continue these critical services in the challenging months ahead. For more info and to donate, click here.