Suffolk Refugee Support Advice Service

by Suffolk Refugee Support in Ipswich, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 3rd January 2020 we successfully raised £11,265 with 178 supporters in 42 days

We need to raise £10,000 by the end of the year so we don't have to cut our advice service, which is a lifeline for hundreds of refugees

by Suffolk Refugee Support in Ipswich, England, United Kingdom

About us

Suffolk Refugee Support (SRS) is an independent charity that has supported refugees and asylum seekers in Suffolk for 20 years. We run a range of projects, from an international women's group to employment and training work and support for young refugees and resettled families. But our drop-in advice service has been at the core of our work for two decades, providing a safe, welcoming space, listening ear and vital practical support on a wide range of issues, from healthcare to housing and access to legal advice. Demand for our services has never been higher - we act as a vital lifeline for many people who don't know where else to turn, and our specialist work eases the pressure on other services. We are very proud that we won the Charity of the Year award at the 2019 Suffolk BME Business Awards.

Over the past year, our advice service gave:

  • over 6000 advice contacts
  • supporting more than 1000 people
  • from 35 countries

“Fleeing from domestic violence I didn’t know where to go and when I came to Suffolk Refugee Support, the support I was given made me feel safe and welcomed. I was given help with everything to overcome my fear and with all my paperwork from the Home Office. I would like to say thank you and I don’t know what I would have done. I am happy that I am able to work and to start my life again” 

Why we are crowdfunding

Over our 20 year journey we have been very successful at securing funding from a wide range of generous and loyal grant-making bodies, trusts, community groups and individuals. However, our largest grant funding, from the Big Lottery, is coming to an end after an almost unprecedented 12 years of support. We are working very hard to fill this gap, but need to raise an extra £10,000 in order to avoid cuts to our advice service, which is a lifeline to so many.

The people we support have fled violence, persecution and conflict, and have often experienced arduous journeys and been separated from loved ones. Our advice service helps them to begin rebuilding their lives in safety. People like the Afghan medical student who fled the Taliban and came to us for help 20 years ago and now works as a GP and medical adviser to NHS England, or the Rwandan genocide survivor who now works as a social worker in Ipswich and describes how our support helped him rebuild his personality and trust people again.

"I have improved my life since I joined SRS. It has a fantastic, friendly and helpful environment. I participated in a 5 week training about CV making and employment, which helped me a lot and made it easier to job search." 

The Suffolk Refugee Support team

Our dedicated staff team (mostly part-time) bring a wealth of experience and compassion to our services, from Liz, our Advice Service Manager, who has been with us for 15 years and is the font of all knowledge, to our Charity Manager, Rebecca, whose near 20 years of work to support refugees has been rewarded this year with a Suffolk Inspiring Leader Award and an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Suffolk. But we are most proud that our services are supported by nearly 100 volunteers, who give their time, energy and skills freely to help others and in doing so add tremendous value to our work. We also have a stable and skilled board of trustees who ensure the organisation is well governed and sustainable.

"It was a privilege to attend your AGM. Your passion to make a difference really shone through. It is humbling to hear people’s stories, incredible challenges and how they have overcome them with the support of the staff and volunteers in your organisation. The expression ‘life changing’ is often used. Last night, I heard powerful accounts of seeing that in action."

Safer Neighbourhood Team, Suffolk Constabulary


Please pledge your support now - your gift will make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable, traumatised people


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£100 or more

23 of 50 claimed

£100 Exclusive international food experience!

Anyone giving £100 or more will have the opportunity to visit our office, meet the Suffolk Refugee Support team and some of the people we support, talk to us about our work and enjoy a lunch of food from around the world, made by local refugees!

£10 or more

£10 Bus fare for an asylum-seeking family

This will pay for an asylum-seeking family to come to our office for an important advice appointment. Individual asylum seekers receive just £37 per week to cover food, clothing, toiletries, household expenses and travel, meaning many struggle to afford the basics.

£20 or more

£20 Volunteer receptionist expenses for one week

This will pay for the expenses, including lunch, of the volunteer receptionist in our advice service for one week, enabling them to give a warm welcome to people who are often going through stress, anxiety and trauma. Our dedicated and skilled volunteers add value to all our services.

£45 or more

£45 A qualified interpreter for one hour

This will fund an interpreter for an hour to enable a client with limited English to fully understand the advice we are giving or a complex service. It can be very reassuring to know you have understood what is being said, and sometimes just to have things explained sympathetically in your own language.

£78 or more

£78 Appointment for help with complex needs

This is the average cost of an appointment with one of our experienced Advice Workers where we can deal with multiple urgent or complex needs, for instance helping someone access good quality legal advice that could be the difference between life and death, someone who has received a positive decision and has just 28 days to find new accommodation, or finding a school place for a child with special needs.

£125 or more

£125 Travel to Liverpool to submit vital evidence

This pays for a return train ticket from Ipswich to the Home Office in Liverpool for an asylum seeker (living on £37 per week) to submit further evidence to support their claim. This must be done in person and in Liverpool, creating considerable hardship and a potential barrier to justice for many people we see.

£259 or more

£259 Support a service user for one year

This is the average amount it costs for us to support one person for a year at our Advice Service, for example supporting a vulnerable victim of crime, or someone newly arrived in Suffolk needing help understanding and accessing services

£500 or more

£500 To host an immigration legal outreach service

This is the monthly cost for us to host an immigration legal aid outreach service. This covers a solicitor visiting our office, our staff time arranging appointments, all preparation and follow up paperwork and liaison between clients and solicitor. Suffolk is a 'legal aid desert' so this is the only option for many of our clients to access legal advice.

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