Refugees arrive in the UK having fled the horror of war and persecution. They want to rebuild their lives and become a part of their new community.
But this can be extremely hard. Many arrive alone, unable to speak the language and without any of the social networks we often take for granted.
That’s why we’ve joined the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness that is focusing on refugees and asylum seekers this October. During the month, we’re asking people to leave a message of welcome for refugees – to let them know they’re not alone.
“Everything starts anew. You have to make friends, have to speak English. Everything – you are starting a new life.”
Learning English is essential to ending loneliness, helping refugees find jobs, volunteer and socialise with their neighbours.
But our research with English language providers across the country shows that refugees are facing long waiting lists to access classes and Government cuts mean current provision is not meeting people’s needs.
That’s why Refugee Action is calling on the Government to do more to ensure all refugees have full access to English classes. To find out more, check out our Let Refugees Learn campaign.
Our campaign briefing contains new research showing current English language provision is simply not fit for purpose.
We surveyed providers across the country and found that most are unable to offer enough classes to meet people’s needs and some refugees are waiting up to three years to access their first lesson.
Across the country local groups will be marking the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness spotlight month on refugees and asylum seekers by holding “Start a Conversation” events.
Download the “Start a Conversation” event pack to find out how you can organise your own.