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5 Support Options for Refugees in Shoreditch and East London

Refugees and asylum seekers can face a number of challenges and difficulties as they set up their lives in the UK. In this article, we’ll explore the options for support available for refugees in the area…

The subject of refugees has never been far from the headlines in recent months as people from a number of countries, including Ukraine, find themselves seeking shelter in other places. East London, including Shoreditch, has been particularly proactive in supporting refugees, including those seeking indefinite leave to remain (also known as settlement).

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of resources and support options for refugees in Shoreditch and the surrounding area. Keep reading to find out more about the different options…

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Not to be confused with citizenship, indefinite leave to remain offers refugees permanent residency within the UK without imposing any time limits on the length of stay. Similarly, no restrictions on working or setting up a business in the UK.

Refugees are able to apply for indefinite leave to remain if they have lived in the UK for 10 years or more and is designed to help them to properly build a life here.

Benefits for Refugees in Islington

In some cases, once a person has been granted refugee status in Islington, they may be eligible to claim vital benefits such as Universal Credit or housing benefit. In the first instance, refugees are advised to access the Universal Credit site and fill in the online form to see if they are eligible for any such benefits.

If a person is not eligible for any benefits, refugees will often be able to receive an emergency cash gift from other organisations such as The Islington Centre.

The Islington Centre

The Islington Centre forms a central hub for migrants and refugees in Islington and Shoreditch and helps with a wide range of resources including:

  • Education
  • Accommodation
  • Financial help with everyday items such as travel and mobile phone top ups

As well as offering practical help, the hub also provides a vital community centre for refugees, allowing them to connect with others in order to prevent loneliness and isolation.

The Islington Centre is also able to assist refugees with medical care through helping them to register with a GP and arranging a translator to help them to communicate a medical issue. The public can help with the centre’s work by making cash donations.

East London Resources for Refugees

For those who have newly arrived, or waiting for completion of their application to remain, there are a number of sources of help available in Shoreditch and the surrounding area, including:


On arrival in the UK, the most urgent requirement for refugees is that of housing, and there are a couple of resources in Shoreditch to help refugees find somewhere safe to stay.

The Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association mainly finds accommodation for existing residents. However, they are, in some cases, able to offer assistance to refugees.

Praxis is a local organisation which exists specifically for migrants and refugees and can help to sort out emergency accommodation as well as longer term solutions.

Food Vouchers

Arriving in a new country can be daunting enough without having to worry about how you’re going to find food and other necessities for yourself and your family. Hoxton Food Bank can offer refugees in Shoreditch basic food items as well as personal hygiene products such as toothpaste, soap and sanitary protection. Refugees can receive food bank vouchers through a doctor, social worker, therapist or police officer as well as by contacting the office of their local MP.

Language Lessons

In many cases, refugees will arrive in the UK unable to speak a single word of English.  This can make it incredibly difficult to secure the resources that they need such as food, accommodation and medical care. EFA London is an organisation which offers services to migrants and refugees. This includes English language lessons which can help them with vital communication as well as securing work during their stay.

Legal Assistance

Photo by Ahmed Akacha from Pexels

When it comes to migrants and refugees in London, the law can be complex and entirely alien if you speak very little English. The Migrants Law Project in Islington offers legal assistance to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, helping them to understand their rights and the resources available to them. The MLP also offers training to other organisations who seek to offer assistance to refugees.

Help for Refugee Women

Life can be particularly tough for female refugees in terms of adapting to a new way of life while taking care of children. Launched in 1994, the Refugee Women’s Association (RWA) in Islington was created to offer courses and assistance to female refugees during school hours as well as helping them to integrate into British society.

As well as offering advice and education, the association is able, in some cases, to help with travelling and childcare costs to allow women to gain access to resources when they have little funds.

Photo by Ahmed akacha from Pixabay

There’s Plenty of Help and Support for Refugees in Shoreditch

For most of us, it’s hard to imagine having our lives turned upside down by war or other circumstances which force us to leave our homes and start anew in a strange place but, for thousands of people every year, this is simply a reality.

In this article, we’ve mentioned a few organisations in Islington and Shoreditch which offer assistance to refugees. In most cases, these organisations rely heavily on donations from the public in order to continue their vital work.

Should you wish to help refugees in Shoreditch by making a donation you can, in most cases, do so by clicking onto any of the links in this article and donating online.