Southwark Refugee Communities Forum

Southwark Refugee Communities Forum (SRCF) is a refugee-led organisation established by residents with lived experience in Southwark. Over the years, they have become a stable and supportive pillar for the refugees and asylum seekers community. The fundamental principles of their work are:

  • Supporting the essential needs of refugees & migrants: They help newly arrived individuals or families to build relationships with a more established community. They act as a hub of information, helping those with little to no English to navigate public services. In some cases, they are not allowed, so they assist in pulling together as many community resources as possible to support them. For example, helping to provide basic necessities such as; food, toiletries, healthcare, or clothing.
  • Mobilising individuals, hyperlocal groups or networks: Their primary focus is to ensure refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers integrate into the mainstream structures whilst promoting the roles and skills of underseen and most in-need communities. They work with 30 communities across the borough that support up to 100 people. For example, delivering ESOL classes and employment workshops, enabling parents to run toddler workshops or culturally appropriate coffee mornings.
  • Influencing decision-makers & policy-makers: Another aspect of their work is to echo the voices of refugees by facilitating conversation with statutory bodies and local voluntary sectors to build mutual understanding about their needs and daily challenges. This helps to foster effective refugee participation at all levels of decision-making. For example, they contributed towards St George’s University Needs Assessment for Refugees and Migrants in Southwark. They were part of neighborhood conversations with Southwark Councils (Economic Strategy, Equalities Grant Scheme, Sanctuary Borough and Cost of Living).

United St Saviours staff witnessed first-hand the extreme demands at food banks for refugees and migrant communities during the coronavirus, which is only the tip of the iceberg to their problems.  As a funder, we value grassroots user-led groups because they significantly influence and impact their communities. We funded SCRF to recruit a part-time Community Development Officer for two years who will work with up to 3000 refugees and migrants to make their lives better!