Refugee Crisis – What can I do?

Please bear with us while we complete this page of the website.


Hundreds of thousands of people have been moved to action by the recent refugee crisis and like in so many other places, people from south Wales are showing the way with offers to help, donate and campaign.

If you would like to help, here are some of the ways to get involved.

You can:

  • Offer your time
  • Offer things
  • Offer money
  • Help with events

If you’re not sure how best to help you can drop in to the Welsh Refugee Council, Trinity Centre, or Oasis Cardiff to talk to someone.


Hosting a Syrian family

Every local council area in Wales has now pledged to take at least one family from refugee camps on the border of Syria and there is no need for volunteer hosts for this programme.

Even if the government are persuaded otherwise, it will not be a quick process to host a Syrian refugee. The UK pledged to take 500 from those camps in January 2014, and up to now only 216 have arrived in the UK, so unless there is huge pressure on government to change policy, many offers of help will not be taken up.

If you want to urge the government to do more, there are a number of good petitions being circulated. Hundreds of thousands have signed up already. You can find them on these websites – change.org38 degrees ,  Avaaz and Refugee Action

Apologies if you already know this, but those who come to the UK and claim asylum (31,000 in total last year) are given accommodation while their case is being heard.  That means that there is little opportunity to accommodate them in host families, except for some unaccompanied minors, who may be placed in foster families. If you are interested in doing that, please contact your local social services for information. Home for Good is an excellent initiative working with churches to place children in families, including refugee children.

ShareDydd (part of NACCOM) runs a hosting scheme for destitute asylum seekers from all nations who’s asylum claims have finished but are waiting to get evidence for appeals or ‘fresh claims’. The Syrian families will not need accommodation from volunteers so will not need such support. Details of how to get involved with local organisations below.


Local organisations supporting asylum seekers and refugees.

Even though asylum seekers are housed in ‘NASS housing’ (usually privately run and so not council housing), many have experienced trauma from conflict or the journey to Europe. Many also struggle for different reasons, from cultural barriers, to wanting to improve their education, desiring to know the local community better, and sometimes racism.

There are a number local charities who support asylum seekers and refugees who are already living in south Wales as well as victims of human trafficking.

These are found here.

These groups are currently overwhelmed by calls so please consider visiting them in person if they have drop-ins or contacting them with a specific request. Please note, these groups mostly support people who are already in south Wales.

Give your time 

Volunteer to help

Local charities supporting refugees are currently overwhelmed by calls so please consider coming down to see an advisor to help work out the best way you can get involved.

Also see ‘International volunteering’ below.


Give things:

For a list of what to take, see the Facebook / websites of the groups below.

Cardiff and Vale Sanctuary Support

Donations can be left at

  • no donations currently needed as amount that needs ‘sorting’ is currently high and volunteers are needed to do this.

Local projects supporting people overseas

Calais and Vale Sanctuary Support
Contact: tbc
Donations needed at present: Firewood, warm clothes for the winter. Keep up-to-date with what to donate on Facebook  or Website

Some up-and-coming projects:

Project Paddington

Group set up to mobilise primary school children to send a teddy, a drawing of themselves and a short note to a refugee child. Upon registration, you will receive full information about how to run Project Paddington in your school or group, including our sponsorship page. Initially set up to send teddy bears to children of refugees; also accepting donations in co-operation with TEAR Fund. E-mail:

Universities of Sanctuary

Discussion around creating a refugee-friendly institution within Universities in Cardiff.


Foodbanks are run by local volunteers across the city and many asylum seekers and refugees use their services. Support them by donating food or by volunteering.


Give Money:

You can see a number of international organisations who are responding to the refugee crisis at the end of this guide.

The following charities support vulnerable refugees and trafficked people. They are generally supporting people who are already living in south Wales and not those who are in Calais or in refugee camps but are in need of funds to support their long term work in Sheffield.

Local Charities working with refugees and asylum seekers in south Wales

ShareDydd – Supports destitute asylum seekers

 – Supports victims of human trafficking

City of Sanctuary – Welcoming and signposting new arrivals, awareness raising

 – Advice and employment support to refugees and asylum seekers

– Supports victims of human trafficking

 – Supports women with no recourse to public funds

– Campaigning and awareness raising

Welsh Refugee Council – They will support the Syrian families as part of the government’s programme.
Local groups supporting people in refugee camps

Cardiff and Vale Sanctuary Support

Fundraising campaign  – Distribution of aid to the Calais migrants

CalAid also have details of what is most needed


See also international organistions to donate to.


Help with events

Please come to any upcoming events to find out more and help keep things going…


National and international volunteering roles:

● International Rescue Committee: US-based charity with opportunities to volunteer around the world including mentoring refugee families and helping them find jobs

● Refugee council: looking for Therapeutic Casework Volunteers in to support their assessments, casework and referrals to asylum seekers and refugees presenting mental wellbeing needs

MyRefuge is an exciting project based on the AirBnB principle but not involving any a financial cost to refugees. It will be particularly useful to those who need short term accommodation after having been granted refugee status in the UK while they wait for benefits to kick in and try to find long term housing.

Positive Action in Housing  are compiling a database of people offering accommodation, so that there is a coordinated response if and when refugees are let in to the UK. They may also be able to find you a refugee guest before that happens.

● Citizens UK: a scheme where people can volunteer as much of their time or resources as they want, but especially to lobby local councils on behalf of refugees.

Citizens UK has now set up a new national Refugees Welcome Board to coordinate the civil society response to the crisis. They are working at a local level to persuade councils to resettle people, and identify landlords who can make properties available. Local coordinators are now being listed on the new site – we’re almost up to 50! If you would like to be listed for your area email  They have also called for a national action on the 13th of October in Parliament Square to push the government to go further faster.

● Calais Migrant Solidarity (/Action From UK): organising aid from the UK to those stranded in Calais. Includes details to find local groups for clothes collections and donations here and a UK-based Facebook group

● Doctors of the World: providing care to vulnerable people, advocating for rights to health

● Music Against Borders: appealing for people to donate musical instruments to Calais

● The Jungle Library: makeshift library set up at the camp at Calais. They need more books

● ‘Childhood bags’: fundraising to take books, toys and warm clothes to children

● Folkestone United: organising protests, taking donated goods to Calais in September

● lobbying local councils, providing language support, housing refugees

● Migrant Offshore Aid Station: dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea

● Sawa for development and aid: working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon



National and international groups to donate to:

Make a financial donation to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is doing related humanitarian work overseas. These could include:

● Save the Children: distributing essential items such as nappies, hygiene kits and food

● Red Cross Europe: providing emergency health services at central train stations

● Migrant Offshore Aid Station: dedicated to preventing migrant deaths at sea

● International Rescue Committee:  improving living conditions by setting up camps

● The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): providing water, mosquito nets, tents, healthcare

● Refugee Action: advice about claiming asylum, the asylum process, asylum support

● World Vision: providing food, water, shelter, education and psychosocial care

● Médecins Sans Frontières: humanitarian agency which has three rescue ships in the Mediterranean

● Aylan Kurdi Fund: named in honour of the drowned child and set up within 24 hours of the horrific pictures circulating around the world. All proceeds are going to charity Hand In Hand For Syria

● Asylum Aid: provides free legal advice and representation to refugees and asylum-seekers seeking safety in the UK from persecution. They also campaign for the fair treatment of refugees in the UK

● The Aire Centre: provides information and advice throughout Europe on international human rights law, including the rights of individuals under the provisions of European Community Law