WHAT WE DO

Leading Change

We are the leading organisation in Wales, promoting equality for and fostering good relations towards asylum seekers and refugees in Wales.  We aim to lead change in Wales and the UK through campaigning to change policies and practice which directly impact the lives of asylum seekers and refugees, and through influencing public perceptions and increasing public understanding about the right to asylum and the benefits of welcoming people in need to Wales.

We are the brand holder for Refugee Week Wales, an annual arts programme that promote positive perceptions of people in Wales.  We work with the voluntary and statutory sector and partners and asylum seeker and refugee community organisations where our efforts contribute to the creation of a society where respect and equality for are paramount.

We are the lead organisation for the Asylum Rights Programme, a partnership of seven Welsh organisations, aims to promote and ensure the rights of people seeking asylum and living in Wales.

We are also the leading organisation in Wales providing Move On advice and support for newly granted refugees to prevent homelessness and enable them to access employment and education support.

We use our experience of delivering frontline services directly to asylum seekers and refugees to shape our campaigning, influencing and advocacy work to ensure we focus on areas that affect asylum seekers and refugees.

Importantly, as well as seeking to act as a voice for asylum seekers and refugees, we enable them to act as their own advocates through creating opportunities for them to meet directly with decision makers and politicians.

We work with the media in Wales to promote positive perceptions of asylum seekers and refugees through developing positive news stories, challenging myths and misconceptions and empowering asylum seekers and refugees to be able to speak for themselves about their own stories and the issues that most affect them.

We support the growth of the Welsh Refugee Coalition, sitting on the Executive Board and promoting opportunities to secure commitments for Wales to become a Nation of Sanctuary, and previously influenced the National Assembly for Wales’ Equalities, Local Government and Communities Committee to launch an inquiry into the experience of asylum seekers in Wales and to further the recommendations from the committee’s I Used to Be Someone report.

We sit on a number of local, Welsh and UK wide boards to champion the rights of asylum seekers and refugees including co-chairing the Welsh National Destitution Forum.

We currently work with over 80 partners and collaborators across Wales and the UK and have experience of successfully leading and delivering Wales-wide partnership programmes.

Preventing Destitution (Asylum Rights Programme)

We believe everyone should be entitled to live with dignity. Asylum seekers should have safe, comfortable accommodation whilst they wait for a decision on their asylum claim. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and many people in the asylum system do not have the means to meet even the most basic of needs.

As most asylum seekers are not permitted to work, they are reliant on Home Office support and accommodation. But for asylum seekers, there are many barriers to receiving the limited support they are rightly entitled to. We ensure, wherever possible, that people access this support so that they have somewhere safe to sleep and enough to eat.

How we help

• Every day, we prevent people from becoming homeless. Our team have the experience and expertise to assist people in desperate circumstances.

• Our team spend time listening to clients, helping them to understand the asylum support system, identifying the problem and helping find a way forward.

• We challenge incorrect decisions made by housing providers and the Home Office including supporting appeals at Tribunal.

• We support people to complain about unsafe, insecure or damp asylum accommodation. We see people expected to live in homes with leaking ceilings, carpets flooded from faulty plumbing, pest infestations, lack of heating and hot water and broken locks and doors.

• We provide vital support to homeless asylum seekers giving urgent financial assistance in the short term, and identifying pathways back into accommodation and financial support.

We don’t believe anyone should be on the streets. If you agree and want to help us support asylum seekers into homes why not donate here

Promoting a Welsh Welcome

We want all those fleeing persecution and arriving in Wales to feel empowered to build a new future for themselves and their family. As well as our support for those arriving through the asylum route, we help welcome those arriving through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Support Service (previously the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme). This service is delivered through contracts with Local Authorities in Wales who have signed up to the scheme.

We provide a broad range of services to support the family’s welcome and integration into life in Wales including, but not limited to:

• meeting new families arriving under the scheme from the airport and accompanying them to their new property;

• ensuring there is a grocery pack available to the family on arrival;

• attending briefings with the family and property managers to sign tenancy agreements and provide information on the property ensuring this is delivered in a language understood by the family;

• providing briefings on entitlements including healthcare and benefit payments and help to access this support;

• accompanying families to healthcare and jobcentre appointments;

• enabling families to access English language education;

• helping families access bank accounts;

• providing other orientation support as necessary.

If you are a Local Authority and want to discuss how we can deliver in your area, please get in touch

Safe Play Spaces

We provide safe play spaces and play support to children from some of the most vulnerable families arriving in Cardiff. Many have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution, conflict and violence.

After arriving in the UK, their families often face uncertainty over whether they will be allowed to remain in the safety of the UK while their asylum claims are being processed. This is a stressful and anxious wait. Families have to survive on as little as £35.39 each every week while living in cramped accommodation with little communal space, and children often sharing bedrooms with adult family members.

When they are allowed to remain in the UK as refugees, the problems don’t end. Instead, families face homelessness and have just 28 days to leave their accommodation and find somewhere new to live.

We offer a space away from the day to day challenges. We offer play opportunities, out of school holiday programmes and trips that allow them to learn, be creative and just be children. The project helps children deal with the trauma of fleeing persecution and to express their feelings and fears through play.

Our sessions run at the Trinity Centre, Four Elms Road, Cardiff, CF24 1LE on

Tuesdays 10:30am – 12:30am

Wednesdays 12:30 pm – 2:30pm

Thursdays 12:30pm – 2:30pm

For more information contact Meryl on 07896 522 697 or meryl@wrc.wales

Skills for Integration

Asylum seekers and refugees come to Wales from all over the world, enriching our culture and helping to make Wales an outward-looking, multi-cultural, multi-lingual nation.

We work hard to ensure that we give people the skills they need to integrate fully into Welsh life.

How we help

  • We offer free English and Welsh language classes for asylum seekers and refugees with levels from beginner to advanced. The classes bring together people from different countries and continents to study together and make friends along the way.
  • We offer specialist short courses for asylum seekers and refugees which have included Public Service Interpretation, numeracy classes and CV workshops.
  • We enhance the skills and experiences people bring with them by providing volunteering opportunities. Volunteers from refugee backgrounds assist caseworkers, interpret and make sure clients feel welcome in our offices. Specialist training is provided.
  • We work closely with organisations supporting pathways to employment and can refer clients for assessment and individualised planning. Our Cultural Integration partnership with Jobcentre Plus offers clients the chance to learn more about the world of work in the UK.

Every day our team help people to read and understand tenancy agreements, bills and contracts – all the key skills for living and working in the UK.

You can help us support refugees build a new future in Wales by donating here.

Tackling Homelessness

Receiving refugee status marks the end of an anxious wait for an asylum decision, but it is also the beginning of a new period of uncertainty and change.

Housing and financial support for new refugees lasts for just 28 days.

The Welsh Refugee Council is there every step of the way to support refugees build new futures in Wales.

In just 4 weeks, families need to find new places to live and ways to support themselves. Some will have been in the UK for just a few weeks and have limited English or Welsh language skills. Others may have been in the UK for years unable to work, surviving destitution and poverty.

Our caseworkers in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham help people to navigate the transition to their new life and to understand the rights and responsibilities it brings.

Our team meet with new refugees as soon as possible.

With no “priority” need for housing, many refugees are expected to find their own accommodation with private landlords.

We aim to prevent homelessness through working closely with local advice and support agencies, hostels and local authorities to find the best possible place for that person.

We help people to do all the essential things they need to build their new life. We enable them to open bank accounts, to access employment support, and to access other specialist entitlements based on their individual needs.

Often refugees will have had to flee their homes at short notice and the journey to the UK is a dangerous one. Families can get separated. Wives and children can be left behind. Being reunited in the UK should be a joyous experience but it can lead to greater hardship.

Our team is there to help. We provide advice on changing housing needs, applying for school places and accessing health care.

Throughout the process, our team empower clients promoting dignity and confidence enabling them to build new futures in Wales.

You can help us continue this vital work by donating today

Case Studies

Case Study – Khyaliben’s Story
7th January 2020 |

Case Study – Khyaliben’s Story

Khyaliben fled India and subsequently claimed asylum because the man she fell in love with in the UK was not welcomed by her family as he was of a nationality and faith. This meant that it would be dangerous for her to go back home and live life with family and friends in her home country.

Read Article
Case Study – Okot’s Story
7th January 2020 |

Case Study – Okot’s Story

Okot was a refugee living in Wrexham. He was a victim of trafficking and lived alone. He became homeless after losing his accommodation and was facing destitution.

Read Article

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We empower asylum seekers and refugees to build new futures in Wales