The NET National Refugee Crisis Project, in partnership with Scottish Refugee Council, Welsh Refugee Council and Bryson Care in Northern Ireland, supports refugees and people seeking asylum from the moment they arrive in the UK. These organisations provide crisis advice, practical and emotional support for children and adults and help refugees to integrate into their new communities.
The Refugee Council used NET Coronavirus Appeal funding to deliver an emergency freephone Infoline for refugees and people seeking asylum in need of urgent help. The Infoline is free to call and puts callers in touch with caseworkers and organisations who can help them with anything from getting accommodation to finding food banks. It has also delivered crisis support for those at risk of homelessness and destitution, resources to facilitate digital inclusion, mental health support for adults in the asylum system, and mental health and case work support for unaccompanied children.
The pandemic has adversely impacted almost everyone but it has been disproportionately hard for those seeking Refugee Council’s help. Many refugees and people seeking asylum have found it difficult to access vital information like Covid-19 health information and advice on how to submit their asylum claim during lockdown. There has been huge financial, language and digital barriers to accessing information and the support they need. The Infoline project has helped refugees to live more comfortably and has been a crucial safety net. One caller said about an Infoline caseworker, “Without you I would be pretty much dying of cold outside knowing nothing”.
Sarah Sonne, Project Manager for the NET National Refugee Crisis Project said, “The NET grant will help in a lot of other ways too such as with digital inclusion. For example, in Scotland, it will fund a Key Worker to support families for the next eight months. They will touch on issues such as access to health, education and asylum procedure and access to digital devices and support with digital skills. In Northern Ireland, Bryson’s Care are going to provide broadband and tablets to make sure that asylum seekers can access essential services online.I want to say a big thank you to the National Emergencies Trust and their donors. This grant will make such a difference to thousands of people during this hugely difficult time. Without it, we would have been forced to turn them away.”
The Infoline freephone number is 0808 196 7272. For more information or advice visit: https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/