A helpful guide to supporting refugees and asylum seekers

Posted: April 14, 2022

Leeds City College is committed to becoming a safe and welcoming place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. We want all students, staff and the wider community to understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary.

Part of this will be embedding a culture of addressing barriers to refugees and asylum seekers and helping them to achieve their potential in an understanding and welcoming environment.

What is a sanctuary?

A sanctuary is a place of refuge or rest, a place where you can feel at peace from persecution, or other danger.

Definitions of a refugee and asylum seeker


A refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Asylum seeker

An asylum seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country, but who hasn’t yet been legally recognised as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim.

How can you help refugees and asylum seekers?

Host refugees and asylum seekers in your home

If you’re able to offer shelter this is a simple but helpful way to support refugees or asylum seekers.


There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities within Leeds and surrounding areas. There are also volunteering opportunities with Refugee Action.You can also sign up for their volunteer alerts.

You can find more volunteering opportunities through Citizens UK and Help Refugees, via your local volunteer centre.

Opportunities for refugees to volunteer

If you are a refugee or asylum seeker, you have the right to volunteer. Refugee Action has a great guide on how you can volunteer. See more here

Help refugees to integrate into a new culture

Anyone who has lived abroad knows how difficult it can be to learn a new language, make friends, understand the culture, find somewhere to live or a new job. That’s why integration is important for refugees. In many parts of the world, a whole range of community initiatives have come up to welcome newcomers, such as offering advice about asylum, language courses, and sporting initiatives that help with mental health and wellbeing.

Hold awareness and fundraising events

You can do this either as an individual or by helping to organise events in your community. Find out what activities your local community or college are doing where you can get involved.

Useful resources

Organisations providing legal support and advice

Below is a list of organisations supporting and offering legal advice and services to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

Asylum Aid

Asylum Aid is a charity which 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. See more here.

Citizens Advice

The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice, and by influencing policymakers.See more here.

Refugee and Migrant Justice

Provides legal advice and representation for those seeking protection under international and national Human Rights Asylum law. They also deliver training and other support to those giving advice and representation in such cases and seek to promote the interests of their clients individually and collectively through law and public policy.See more here.

Support for asylum seekers and refugees

Amnesty International

Amnesty International is a worldwide voluntary movement of people who campaign for human rights. See more here

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross provides practical and emotional assistance to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the UK. They also restore family links of those separated by war or disaster.See more here


Oxfam GB is a development, relief, and campaigning organisation dedicated to finding lasting solutions to poverty and suffering around the world. They offer emergency food and shelter as well as help with language classes and legal and health advice. See more here

Refugee Action

Refugee Action is an independent charity that supports refugees and asylum seekers to build new lives in the UK. They campaign to ensure that refugees’ voices are heard in matters that affect them, and that people’s needs are met. See more here

Refugee Council

The Refugee Council is the largest organisation in the UK working with asylum seekers and refugees. They not only give help and support, but also work with asylum seekers and refugees to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed.See more here

Student Action for Refugees (STAR)

STAR is an organisation that gives university students and young people (16-18 years) the opportunity to learn about and raise awareness of refugee issues in innovative ways, supporting refugees in a practical way in their local communities through volunteering and campaigning for the rights of refugees everywhere.See more here

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