Southwark refugee group raising urgent funds for refugees who cannot get benefits or healthcare

A community project is raising money to feed refugees amid lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (SDCAS) is running a crowdfunder aiming to raise £15,000 in a bid to support stranded migrants – within a week.

SDCAS is running the fundraiser via the Aviva Community Fund website and is hoping to reach its target via public donations.

SDCAS says the asylum seekers who use its centres have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with many living in cramped accommodation, and some unable to unable to claim benefits, access free healthcare or work.

It also says demand has grown for its services as public funding has been cut, causing other local charities to close. The charity launched a food bank during lockdown at Peckham Park Road Baptist Church, giving out packages to 100 households per week, and is providing advice on immigration, housing and healthcare via phone.

Using the crowdfunded money, it is hoping to expand its provision of emergency relief and advisory services and increase the number of day centre and advice sessions it offers.

At the same time, SDCAS says its needs to find new ways to help people coping with trauma to build new lives in an environment where social distancing is necessary. It is run by just a handful of staff and over 50 volunteers, and it is hoping to spread the word further and attract more volunteers and local supporters.

Day centre coordinator Bettina Dreier said: “A lot of our clients have extremely little – we have teenagers who are isolating alone in tiny hostel rooms, who we’ve managed to find TVs for so that they have something to watch.

“There are families who have lost their jobs, but because they don’t have full refugee status, aren’t allowed to claim benefits or access free healthcare. They rely on our food deliveries to survive.

“The crowd funder is to help us meet our costs as this service develops as we come out of lockdown. We are constantly thinking of new ways to help people such as a phone advice service but need support in setting this up.”

Anyone able to contribute to the crowdfunder can donate via the Aviva Community Fund homepage and search for the project ‘Kindness for Refugees.’:

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