How we help
Hammersmith & Fulham Council is committed to supporting refugees, asylum seekers and people from abroad.
- Child refugees and asylum seekers
We’re committed to supporting our children and young people in the following ways:
Immigration and settlement:
- We support young people to make their asylum application at the Home Office.
- Social workers, key workers or foster carers accompany young people to all interviews with solicitors and immigration officials, providing them with continuous support during their asylum application, and navigating complex systems.
- We refer and support young people to the Red Cross Tracing Services to find lost and missing family members.
Housing and financial support:
- We accommodate young people according to their needs and vulnerability, either with a foster family or in semi-independent accommodation.
- We provide young people with semi-independent accommodation and a weekly allowance to pay for their food and fares if they are in education.
- We support young people to open a bank account.
- We provide young people in semi-independent accommodation with a clothing allowance which is paid three times a year.
- We support young people to access health services, such as their local GP, migrant health clinic, opticians, and dentist.
- With the agreement of the young person, we refer them to the Looked After Nurse and the Children Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Life skills, education and work:
- Social workers along with carers and key workers work with young people to develop their independent life skills such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- The virtual schoolteacher, social worker, tutor and young person (up to age 18) meet three times a year to discuss their progress and devise targets and strategies to further their educational development.
- We organise regular 3-way meetings with the young person’s carers or keyworkers, to discuss their progress and address any issues of concern.
- The virtual school support the young people to enrol at a school or college.
- The virtual school organise 10 hours of ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’ (ESOL) tuition with young people who have no English skills.
- If deemed necessary, we organise one to one tuition for the young people in individual subjects.
- We provide the young people with self-study resources that support independent learning.
- For young people interested in accessing further educational provision, we refer them to organisations such as the Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, the British Red Cross Young Refugee Service and the Refugee Council.
- We refer interested young people to work placement opportunities such as working at Otto Restaurant in the centre of London.
Social skills, community and empowerment:
- We encourage young people to participate in forums and meetings such as the Children in Care Council in which they can voice their opinions and views about the service the local authority is providing.
- We refer interested young people to organisations which provide them with enrichment opportunities such as the Build your Bike Programme or Phosphoros Theatre.
- We refer young people who are artistically minded to mentoring programmes with organisations such as Arts Emergency.
- We support and provide funding for young people to join a gym or join their local football club such as Lambeth Tigers FC or Kensington Dragons FC.
- In collaboration with Fulham FC Foundation and Chelsea FC Foundation we organise a weekly football session which takes place at Eel Brook Common.
- We organise trips for the young people to football matches and theatre performances.
- Support for families and adult refugees and asylum seekers
We support refugee families and single people to resettle in the borough through our Housing Solutions Service and working with partners. We currently support over 129 people/families in the following ways.
Welcome and support:
- Our plan of support for our refugee families and single people ensures they are supported from the time they arrive in the UK.
- We agree resettlement plans with each family to ensure the right support and services are in place so they can settle in their new homes and communities.
- We greet refugees upon arrival to ensure they have a safe and comfortable first experience in the UK.
- We provide intensive casework support which starts with daily contact from first arrival and then on an ongoing basis as refugees settle into their new homes and lives.
Accommodation and community orientation:
- We provide information to our refugees about their accommodation, ensuring the household understands both their legal and contractual rights and responsibilities and understand safety information.
- We translate information into different languages such as Arabic to communicate critical information to share on arrival at the accommodation.
- We provide support on how to use relevant equipment and fixtures at the property.
- We support refugees with local community orientation, ensuring they can use public transport and know where local facilities such as places of worship, local shops and markets are.
- Through our relationships with key healthcare providers, we prepare support in advance of arrival for specialist medical cases. This includes registering refugees with a local GP.
- We refer refugees to mental health services and counselling (Claybrook, Freedom from Torture) where appropriate.
- We ensure all incoming refugees and asylum seekers know how to access ongoing support.
Education and employment:
- We work closely with colleagues in Children’s Services to ensure that school places and nurseries are identified for refugee children prior to arrival.
- We register children with nurseries or schools and assisting with application process, helping with applications for free meals and school vouchers and uniforms.
- We help refugees and asylum seekers access language support and build the skills to settle into the UK and thrive.
- Work with ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’ (ESOL) providers such as West London College, Hammersmith & Fulham Adult Learning and Skills Service at the Macbeth Centre, Burleigh College, Kensington and Chelsea College and City of Westminster College to access and provide ESOL courses.
- We work with our partners: BEAM, Breaking Barriers and Tern, we support refugees into employment.
- We support refugees into entrepreneurship by providing services through business exploration.
- We have developed relationships with local Job Centre Plus offices so that the refugee programme is understood by key stakeholders and service provision meets the needs of refugee families.
- We assist our refugees with accessing financial support including welfare benefit claims to ensure they are financially included.
Building and sustaining housing opportunities:
- We work collaboratively and build partnerships with housing associations and landlords to promote our resettlement programme and encourage them to support refugees by providing affordable and safe housing.
- We work in partnership with Shepherds Bush Housing Association, Peabody, Harouni Group, Notting Hill Housing Group, private landlords, and charity groups.
- We work closely with housing providers to ensure accommodation meets legal health and safety compliance requirements and are furnished appropriately.
- Support for people with no recourse to public funds
We support residents with no recourse to public funds who are particularly vulnerable and are struggling with their finances or housing.
Support is provided through our Housing Solutions Service, Adult Social Care and Childrens Services in the following ways:
- HEP assists with accommodation and subsistence payments.
- Residents are helped to access appropriate legal representation and apply to the Home Office to remove the restrictions created by no recourse to public funds and access financial support where possible.
If you are a resident with no recourse to public funds and struggling, or you know someone affected and struggling who needs support, you can contact us for an assessment and help in the following ways:
Families with children
Contact Family Services.
Telephone, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm: 020 8753 6600
Out of hours service: 020 8748 8588
Contact us on Freephone 0800 145 6095, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday or email: email@example.com
For urgent support outside of office hours, please contact the Emergency Duty Team on: 020 8748 8588.
If you become aware of refugees or asylum seekers needing help with homelessness within the borough, they can also contact Housing Solutions.
Phone: 020 8753 4198, option 1, option 1.
This number is operated 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
- Partnership and community
Hammersmith & Fulham works closely with partners and community organisations to support refugees and asylum seekers to feel supported and integrated into our local community.
Our partners and organisations supporting our residents include:
Advice and support
- Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre – provides immigration and housing advice
- Citizens Advice – provides information, education and advice services to help people resolve problems
- Safe Passage – provides support to child refugees
- Migrants Organise – support social integration of refugee families with wellbeing and social activities
- West London Welcome – a drop-in community group for refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and other locals living in West London
- Claybrook Centre, West London NHS Trust – provides community mental health services
- Freedom from Torture – provides therapy and support for torture survivors
- British Red Cross – offers help with the urgent needs of refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants
- Fulham FC Foundation – coaching for young refugees and asylum seekers
- British Red Cross tracing services – to find lost missing family members
- NHS Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
- CARAS – supporting people of refugee and asylum-seeking background who live in south-west London
- The Refugee Council
Education and sports
- West London College
- H&F adult learning and skills service
- Burleigh College
- City of Westminster College
- Kensington and Chelsea College
- Phosphoros Theatre
- Arts Emergency – provides mentoring programmes
- Lambeth Tigers FC
- Kensington Dragons FC
- Fulham FC Foundation
- Chelsea FC Foundation
- BEAM – a service that fund-raises employment training for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, providing end-to-end, personalised support into skilled, secure and well-paid jobs.
- Breaking Barriers – a UK charity that helps refugees to rebuild their lives through education (English and IT), training and employment support.
- TERN – supports refugees into entrepreneurship by providing services through business exploration, start-up and growth.
- H&F WorkZone – supporting H&F residents into work, training and apprenticeships, free employment services to support local-residents and to connect to employers.
We have provided funding and support to organisations supporting refugees and asylum seekers, including the following
- Barnardo's – helps children affected by exploitation and trafficking
- West London Welcome – supports refugees and asylum seekers and migrants, helps with language classes and advice and support
- Hammersmith & Fulham Association of Somali Voluntary Organisations (ASVO) – provides leadership and a voice for the Somali community
- Arc Theatre – addresses FGM in schools
- Breaking Barriers – supports refugee households with enhanced training and employment opportunities and English language and IT support
- Lido Foundation – To provide support and advice to the Somali community
- Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre – provides advice and assistance to residents with immigration and asylum issues as well as advice for EU citizens on settled status
- H&F Citizens Advice – provides information, education and advice services to help people resolve problems and advice and support on EU settle status
- H&F Foodbank – helping people in need with food and advice.