Barnsley Advice Project - Refugee Council

Barnsley Advice Project

The "Barnsley Refugee Advice Programme: A whole town approach" delivers frontline advice and support services to refugees and people seeking asylum, as well as providing training, advice and awareness raising to local services.

This five-year programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and includes local activities that help in improving local level attitudes, practices and systems that can be barriers and that constitute some of the root causes of challenges our clients face.

People seeking asylum are not allowed to work, they are often placed in cramped, shared housing, and they must survive on weekly payments of £45 a week. They often face discrimination and do not access mainstream services to which they are entitled (such as health care) due to a range of barriers including language, a lack of knowledge of rights and entitlements, and complex mental health issues.

How we help

Last year we provided 1 to 1 advice sessions to over 250 people on a range of issues, including:

  • Supporting people seeking asylum with their asylum claim
  • Accessing asylum support
  • Destitution needs
  • No recourse to public funds support
  • Accessing legal representation
  • Support with applications
  • Advocacy
  • Accessing English classes

Additionally, we supported those with refugee status to access housing, welfare benefits, opening bank accounts, family reunion and further education.

We ran weekly group conversation classes to reduce feelings of isolation and to provide an opportunity to meet and undertake activities with peers and members of the community. This benefits clients’ mental health and increases their knowledge and confidence.

Our volunteers provide support through awareness raising sessions, befriending clients, client advocacy, and delivering public speaking courses.

Local partnerships

We continue to engage with Barnsley’s social services team which includes delivering talks in schools, particularly where the children of clients have been the victim of bullying or prejudiced attitudes.

We have worked closely with local NHS services, libraries and job centres to ensure they can cater for the needs of our clients. We have worked in partnership with local community groups who support clients with their destitution needs, and the local authority teaches computer skills to our clients.

We continue to coordinate and Chair the Migrant Support Network, which helps to identify and resolve gaps in service provision within the community.

In 2021/22


clients were supported through...


individual one-to-one casework and advice sessions


group sessions, as well as 11 conversations clubs


active volunteers, some of whom have moved on to become Community Champions for Barnsley Council

Support our work

You can support our work with people seeking asylum by making a donation or volunteering on our projects.

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If you work with a people seeking asylum in Barnsley, get in touch or find out more about our drop-in times below.