Southwark Day Center for Asylum Seekers

Southwark Day Center for Asylum Seekers

At a glance


  • Counselling / advice
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Local / community
  • Poverty relief
  • Refugees / migrants

Other details

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We are a small, local charity, active for more than 20 years, offering a range of advice and support to asylum seekers and refugees in the borough.

Almost all our clients have left their home countries in traumatic circumstances. Many have been tortured, and some arrived as unaccompanied minors. When they get here they face considerable challenges: asylum seekers often have to wait upwards of ten years for a decision on their cases, and are usually not allowed to work in that time. We are currently seeing very high levels of homelessness and destitution, with predictable effects on mental health.

We operate three day-centres, and at each our 800 clients or so a year can find a hot meal, and help with problems such as immigration, health, education, housing, benefits and so on. We also offer a crèche and a range of other classes and activities, as well as more focused mental health support, all in an atmosphere that is busy, but friendly and inclusive: people from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, West Africa, Eritrea and Latin America come to us to  share the same food and activities.

We work holistically, seeking to support all aspects of our clients' well-being, emotional and physical, so that they are in a good position to take the tough decisions that face them. If we do our job right, they won't need our services again, and indeed many do go on to volunteer with us. 


Clients come to us with a range of problems. Some will just want a hot meal and a chat. Some have health issues, and our nurse will help them access NHS services. Some have complex benefits or housing issues, and our trained advisors can offer help. And all the time we are mindful of their wider psychological and emotional needs. We have mental health workers who build long-term relationships with those most in need. A morning spent on our gardening project can provide a few hours of calm and satisfaction. The creche affords some kids-free time. A trip to a local museum or even the beach can be a real help. 

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