Syrian refugees: what you can do to help

UK govGovernment responseLast updated:This week the Prime Minister announced that the UK will resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees during this Parliament. Here’s how you can help.

Since the Syrian crisis began in 2011, the UK has granted asylum or other forms of leave to almost 5,000 Syrian nationals and their dependants. We also operate three resettlement routes, which bring people who have fled their home country to the UK. One of these, the Gateway programme, has run for 10 years and has resettled almost 6,400 people in that time, aiming to resettle around 750 people a year.

Britain can be proud that we’re one of the only major countries in the world to deliver our commitment to spend 0.7% of our GNI on aid. We’re already the second largest bilateral donor of aid in the world in response to the Syrian conflict. Our help has included providing over 18 million food rations and giving 1.6 million people access to clean water.

On 7 September the Prime Minister announced an expansion of our existing Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. Through this expansion, we expect to resettle 20,000 Syrians in need of protection during this Parliament. This is in addition to those we resettle under our Gateway and Mandate programmes, and the thousands of people who receive protection in the UK under normal asylum procedures.

We are working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to identify some of the most vulnerable displaced Syrians and bring them to the UK. This scheme is helping those in the greatest need who cannot be supported effectively in the region by giving them protection and support in the UK. The criteria for acceptance under the scheme will be expanded to ensure more of those in need are resettled.

We have received many generous offers of support from the general public, local authorities, businesses and other organisations. Below is some guidance on how you can help.

General public

You can call the Red Cross’s dedicated phone line on 0800 107 8727 if you’d like to discuss what you can do to help.

I want to make a donation

The best way to help refugees is to donate cash to humanitarian organisations or charities. Cash donations are the fastest, most efficient way to get help to vulnerable people. Please read the Charity Commission’s advice on giving safely.

Cash donations enable relief agencies to cater to the specific needs of the affected population as quickly as possible. They also allow relief agencies to buy goods in the affected region, helping to regenerate the local economy.

Many international organisations are working in the UK, across Europe and in the countries refugees are fleeing from to provide aid and assistance. Recommended and experienced humanitarian and relief agencies that you can support include:

I want to volunteer to help refugees

Several charities and organisations are working with refugees across the UK. To find out more about volunteering opportunities in your area visit:

You could also contact the Refugee Council, the British Red Cross orRefugee Action to find out more about volunteering to support asylum seekers and refugees already in the UK.

I have clothes / books / toys etc that I want to donate

Many charities have been inundated with generous offers of donated goods from members of the public. Because of the logistical challenges in storing and transporting donated items, some can’t accept any donations currently. Check with your local refugee organisations to see what they need.

You can donate items to British Red Cross charity shops. They’ve launched #ShopDrop for Refugee Crisis, where they’ll accept quality clothing, books and unwanted gifts. Money raised from goods donated to the Europe Refugee Crisis will go towards the British Red Cross Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal.

You can also donate items to Save the Children charity shops and Oxfam charity shops.

The items won’t go directly to child refugees but the money raised helps charities to support them.

I have a free room in my house

At this point we don’t think there will be a need to host Syrian refugees in homes and we’re not asking people to come forward with offers of a spare bedroom.

Many organisations in the UK operate accommodation hosting projects to help vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees. You can call the Red Cross’s dedicated phone line on 0800 107 8727 for more information.

NACCOM is a national charity supporting local agencies who provide accommodation to asylum seekers whose applications have been refused.

I have a property that could be used to house refugees

Please contact your local authority. You will probably be redirected to their private sector housing team.

I’m a professional who could help refugees integrate on arrival in the UK

Contact the Refugee Council.

I have a business and have an idea that could help

There are a number of charities and organisations across the UK that are raising awareness and donations to help refugees who have recently arrived and those who are already in the UK. Please contact these charities and organisations directly.

I want to foster a child

You can apply to foster a child through your council if you live in England and Wales.

You could also contact one of these national organisations that help with fostering in the UK:

If you’re interested in fostering in general, contact your local authority to find out more about the process.

I’m a foster carer and would like further training to help meet the specific needs of children in my care

Save the Children may have training opportunities that you’d be interested in.

You can also contact your local authority for information and support.

Local authorities

I’m a local authority and I want to get more information on the scheme and how to participate

Please contact your regional strategic migration partnership via the Local Government Association’s website.

Education providers

I’m a local authority or school looking for additional training to help build the emotional resilience of children in our care

Save the Children may have training opportunities that you’d be interested in.