What we do
At Refugee Connection, we get to know the unique person behind the labels of 'refugee' or 'Londoner' - and we are about getting people together, who would never normally meet, as individuals. We invite people to get involved in any or all of the following ways:
One to One Project
We match Londoners with people seeking asylum or those with refugee status, one to one, to meet up and explore the city or just have a cup of tea in a local cafe. We make sure that this is a partnership of equals, which encourages genuine integration.
On Mondays, from 1-5pm we open the doors to our home at the Calthorpe Project in the heart of London, so everyone involved can get together to share food, drink and conversation.
We run free advocacy clinics where people can seek expert knowledge and advice relating to the extremely complicated bureaucracy that comes with the asylum process and building a life in a new country.
We arrange 'get-togethers', some regular and some as one-offs, such as our weekly Friday Beer Garden night at the Calthorpe Project, BBQs and lots more.
Sufjan and Lina
Sufjan is in forties from Iraq. He has lived in the UK for a long time - nearly 20 years – but before he got in touch with RC he didn’t have any British friends.
Lina is in her thirties. She is from Scotland and has lived in London for 8 years.
Refugee Connection introduced them about 6 months ago. They meet up together every couple of weeks. They meet for a coffee or a walk in the park. Sometimes they meet in the evening at the Calthorpe Arms pub on a Wednesday with other people from RC. Lina has introduced Sufjan to her family and Sufjan has introduced them to his young daughter who he sees regularly. They get along very well and have both also got to know a wider network of people through RC. Sufjan regularly comes to Open House.
Farhad and Ben
Farhad and Ben are both in their early twenties. Farhad is from Iran and has been in London for 3 years. He has no family or close friends here. Ben was born and brought up in London.
RC introduced them about 6 months ago and they regularly meet up. They have enjoyed cooking, watching films, and going to music gigs together. And they have both introduced each other to their friends. They have also supported each other while they are both trying to find jobs in London. They have lots in common and get on really well – but they would not normally have had the opportunity to get to know each other.
“Refugee Connection gives me a chance to make new friends, improve my English. It gives me a new outlook on life, new potential, a new everything … a new way to live. It has showed me that life as a refugee isn’t just ‘brown’ … life has colour again”
Kamal 35, from Sudan, arrived in London 6 years ago and joined our organisation 8 months ago.
"When I come to Open house, my stress and headache disappear, and when I speak to friends here I just feel much better. We eat good food, chat... people are interested in getting to know me, my English is improving so quickly. I genuinely enjoy it here...I have hope for the future now"
Aliah, 28, from Afghanistan, arrived in London 2 years ago and joined our organisation 6 months ago.
"I felt really hopeless whenever I watched the news, thinking of people who had to leave their homes because of war or persecution, and then feeling like nobody here wanted anything to do with it. Refugee Connection was literally the only organisation I could find where I could just spend time with someone who is going through the refugee process, as a friend and not as a 'volunteer'. I could meet someone and introduce them to my friends and family, not have to mentor them or be subjected to a time limit... I've got to know people I would never normally have the opportunity to meet, in a very genuine way, and that alone has enriched my life in countless ways"
Nina, 47, from the UK, joined our organisation 7 months ago.
Our Calthorpe open house space, and garden.