Refugee Council

Day centre services for destitute and homeless refugees

Under the current government regulations, we are seeing an increasing number of people whose asylum claims have been refused but who are unable to return home or people who have been living on reduced benefits for a numbers of years. We also support new arrivals who have fled conflict and arrived in the UK with nothing. Our Day Centre in Brixton exists to provide a welcoming environment for up to 150 clients every day. Of this group, 80% are destitute. In 2008, around 1,500 refugees used our Day Centre. Of these, 1,260 have no access to any form of support or were provided with voucher only support. This included 337 children.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1014576)




  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief
  • OtherOther


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther



Breakfasts and hot lunches are served every day. Our day centre coordinator, volunteers, and a nurse are also on hand to provide emotional and practical support through medical access, social activities, drop-in English classes, and the distribution of emergency provision such as clothing, toiletries, and baby packs for newly arrived refugee families or unaccompanied children. Unaccompanied refugee children visit the Day Centre regularly to get involved in artistic, recreational and educational activities and make new friends. Many older teenagers are living in poorly supported accommodation – mostly bedsits, hotels and hostels – and are not at school or college. The Day Centre provides a safe haven for them to drop-in, keep warm, have a rest, watch TV and eat, and study with the staff and volunteers who run Enlglish classes, homework clubs, and the team of interpreters. Helping 130 people on a shoe string every day is tough. The costs involved in running a Day Centre like this one include: · Food and Staff costs (2 full-time cooks, 1 full-time and 1 part-time kitchen porters, 1 full-time day centre coordinator and 1 part-time administrator) · Cash to buy emergency items such as: toiletry, clothing, food, shoes, haircuts, bags for refugees to keep their possessions, · Premises (repairs, maintenance, laundry, cleaning, insurance and rent) For how many days will you choose to support the Day Centre? · £444.00 would keep the Day Centre open for one day. · £2,088 would sponsor a table of 8 refugees for breakfast and lunch for a whole year · £3,115.00 would keep the Day Centre open for one week. · £7,072 would pay for the cost of emergency baby milk and food for a whole year · £13,500.00 would keep the Day Centre open for one month. · £31,463 would sponsor the salary costs (incl. NI and pension costs) of one of the cooks for a whole year (He serves 30,000 hot meals each year. Without him the Day Centre could not exist!) In 2010/11 we will be raising £142,000 to keep providing a warmer welcome to refugees and asylum seekers. (full proposal available on request)