Ways You Can Help
On this page you will find contact details for groups and organisations which support refugees and those seeking asylum. You can contact these groups if you or your church wish to help through making donations and volunteering your time or resources. You can also signpost anyone who needs the help these groups provide.
The main needs are around ESOL provision, social networking, mother and toddlers groups, men’s groups, sports, youth groups etc. Donations of clothing are helpful for newly arrived refugees, and donated furniture can help people feel welcome in their new homes.
All refugees will have a key worker/ support worker, and the best thing to do is contact the Good Relations Officer in your local District Council and let them know what you have to offer. They in turn can contact the support workers. Go to the link below to find out more.
Or you can contact the following groups directly.
Who to Contact if you want to donate money, clothing, toiletries, furniture, household items:
Kiltonga Christian Centre
Kiltonga in Bangor assists families and individuals in the local community with furniture, home starter boxes, baby boxes and clothing. As part of their ministry, they provides welcome packs and goods for newly arrived refugees. Syrian families are also brought down to the centre to select furniture and other household goods.
They are looking for volunteers to help make up welcome packs for refugees, and also donations of clothing and baby accessories. If you are bringing clothes to the Kiltonga centre, please make sure it is clean, categorized by size/age etc and bagged and labelled, to save the volunteers from a lot of sorting (furniture and clothing cannot be kept aside for refugee families, Kiltonga will always give where they see the need)
Tel: (028) 9146 7601 Mob: 07748 235009
The Storehouse Belfast
The Storehouse in Belfast assists people with food and material goods. They have a warehouse in Dunmurry that takes donations of clothing for refugees. Drop off times are Tuesday evening, 7.30-9pm or Thursday morning 10am.
Their website is www.storehousebelfast.com, or telephone (028) 9023 6333
Local foodbanks throughout NI also provide food parcels to refugees as well as others in poverty, and will accept donations of food.
Homeplus provides a range of support services for destitute migrants, people in the asylum system and refugees.
Go to their website for more information: http://homeplusni.com/
Or e-mail at email@example.com
SOS Bus is a charity that transfers refugees to their new homes – they would welcome any financial help. https://www.sosbusni.com/
St Vincent De Paul
St Vincent de Paul supports people at their point of need, including refugees and asylum applicants. They welcome financial donations and will take clothing for thier charity shops (refugees are given vouchers on a discretionary basis to buy clothes in the shops).
Refugees Welcome aims to link people with a room to spare with people in the asylum system who need somewhere to stay.
Who to Contact if you can help with ESOL provision, or are looking for ESOL classes:
One of the main needs for refugees here is ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision, especially conversation classes and having the opportunity to talk with people to practice their English. Local churches continue to offer a range of English lessons, and these are especially useful where they have childcare.
ESOL VPRS Co-ordination Point: Ligia Parizzi co-ordinates ESOL teaching to NIRRC refugees in both the further education and community sectors. Email: Lparizzi@belfastmet.ac.uk Tel: (028) 9026 5233 Mob: 07814046391.
ESOL NI website lists English classes that are available, including those held in churches: https://esolwebapp.azurewebsites.net
There are also opportunities to volunteer https://esolwebapp.azurewebsites.net/volunteer
Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) (wwww.burc.org) volunteers provide English language learning opportunities for migrants, asylum applicants and refugees. Tel: (028) 9096 1111 https://thebelfastprogramme.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organisations that you can contact to find support for refugees:
Bryson Intercultural/Migrant Help
Bryson Intercultural offers advice and support for people applying for asylum. Contact: Linfield Industrial Estate, Block G, Unit 12 Weavers Court Business Park, Belfast BT12 5GH or visit their website.
Bryson co-ordinated the Vulnerable Syrian Refugee Consortium (VSRC) and co-ordinates its replacement – The NI Refugee Resettlement Consortium (NIRRC). Bryson accepts donations and offers of help from the public.
Barnardo’s NI Refugee Support Service
Barnardo’s NIRSS works in partnership with local statutory and voluntary organisations co-ordinated through the NI Department of Communities and the Home Office. It supports families directly impacted by the Syrian conflict linking them with local services such as health and education and supporting their independence and integration with the local community.
Email: Neil McKittrick Tel: (028) 9067 2366 Email: email@example.com
If there’s anything you can do to help refugee children in schools, or help children and thier families socially integrate, eg by inviting them to Mums and Tots, the Barnardo’s website has a resource for anyone who can work with kids – A New Life for Me.
The Law Centre NI
The Law Centre can provide advice on immigration and asylum issues. Visit their website for more information, or ring their Advice Line (028) 9024 4401.
The NI Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers is a refugee-run support organisation that advises and supports refugees and people who are seeking asylum. 143a University Street, Belfast BT7 1HP. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (028) 9024 6699. For more information visit the NICRAS website.
Extern Multidisciplinary Homeless Support Team has advisers dedicated to helping new refugees. Tel: (028) 9033 0433
Red Cross Belfast
Red Cross Belfast assists people in the asylum system, traces relatives and helps with the process of family reunion. Refugee Support Operations Manager, Ann Marie White, Email: email@example.com Tel: (028) 9073 5350
Belfast City Mission at the Bridge, Kimberley Street, Belfast BT7 3DY, UK engages in support activities alongside people seeking asylum. Mobile: 07491 692722
Belfast Friendship Club meets at the Common Grounds Café, University Avenue, Belfast and provides a safe space for people to socialise. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Meeting Point drop-in centre, run by the Presbyterian Church, has support services for people in the asylum system, and refugees. 133 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7AG. www.facebook.com/Themeetingpoint133/
HAPANI (Horn of Africa People’s Aid NI) assists people from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, including refugees. Botanic House, 1–5 Botanic Ave. Belfast BT71JG Tel: (028) 9031 5778 Mob: 07413525951
To respond effectively it is important to be well informed and well equipped. It is also important to be aware of the limitations of what help you are able to give people in certain situations. Do not offer advice on immigration issues (it is illegal to do so unless you are qualified). Always signpost people on to a group which is better equipped to deal with a specific need, or has the expertise needed to provide correct and helpful advice.
Support organisations and resources are highlighted for your discretionary use – inclusion does not imply endorsement