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Refugee Health Resource Directory 


Resources and activities known about which are relevant to people working with refugees in Wessex, January, 2019


The Refugee Health Group of the Wessex Global Health Network has compiled the following resources and activities that it knows about in Wessex. Corrections and further information and welcomed and should be sent to John Acres john.acres@winchester.ac.uk.

Information is grouped as follows

(Click on the relevant heading to jump to the section you wish to see.) 



South East Strategic Partnership for Migration 

The South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM) provides a leadership, co-ordination and advisory function for migration in the South East. SESPM is hosted by South East England Councils, with all SESPM work funded by the Home Office. Its objectives are 

  • Engaging and networking
  • Assisting parterners in the South East to respond to migration priorities
  • Support the development of evidence based policy and practice
  • Implementing programmes, training and co-ordination 

It has local groups including the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Migration Group, which has representation on it from local groups. 



Refugee Council  

The charity was founded in 1951 in response to the UN Convention for Refugees, which was created after World War II to ensure refugees were able to find safety in other countries. Since then, the Refugee Council has provided practical and emotional support to refugees from across the world to help them rebuild their lives and play a full part in society

Its work includes providing employment and move on advice; therapeutic support; destitution services; support for separated children whose special needs are not covered by mainstream services; and advocacy to achieve a fairer and more humane asylum system. It also provide a range of training resources (see below).   https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk 


The Medaille Trust 

The Medaille Trust is a charity founded by groups of Religious congregations in 2006. Its primary mission is the empowerment of women, men and children, who have been freed from the human-trafficking and the modern day slavery industry in the UK, enabling them to regain their dignity and self-worth.

It does this by providing safe housing and offering opportunities for physical and psychological healing, rehabilitation and protection to the victims in our care.



Refugees at Home

Refugees at Home is a UK based charity aiming to connect those with a spare room in their home with asylum seekers and refugees in need of accommodation.



Helen Bamber foundation 

The Foundation works with the survivors of human cruelty. It supports refugees and asylum seekers who have experienced extreme human cruelty, such as torture and human trafficking. It provides specialist care to meet their complex needs. It offers survivors specialist psychological and physical therapy, housing and welfare support, legal protection and creative arts and skills programmes to help people rebuild their lives. 



CARA : Council for At Risk Academics 

CARA provides urgently-needed help to academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile and many who choose to work on in their home countries despite serious risks. Cara also supports higher education institutions whose work is at risk or compromised. 



Freedom from Torture 

Freedom from Torture provides therapy and medical evidence to torture survivors living in the UK and protects and promotes torture survivor rights. 



City of Sanctuary UK 

City of Sanctuary UK is an umbrella organisation that supports the development of network groups of villages, towns, cities and regions across the UK and provides advocacy and campaigning. It partners with all the major refugee organisations and is committed to working with them to build a united voice to advocate for people seeking sanctuary in our nations and worldwide. 



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Migrant Health Guide 

Produced by Public Health England, this provides guides for

  • NHS entitlements of refugees
  • Communicable diseases
  • Non-communicable health concerns
  • Assessing new patients from overseas
  • Culture, spirituality and religion
  • Human trafficking
  • Language interpretation
  • Travel to visit friends and relatives  



Health of migrants in the UK : What do we know? (2014) 

This briefing paper comes from the Migration Observatory, University of Oxford. It provides an overview of evidence on the health of migrants in the UK. The focus is on physical and mental health status, health behaviour, factors that influence health outcomes (social determinants of health) and access to and use of health care.



Hidden Needs : Identifying Key Vulnerable Groups in Data Collections: Vulnerable Migrants, Gypsies and Travellers, Homeless People, and Sex Workers (2014) 

This report from the Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, highlighted the data gaps in assessing the health needs of some of the most vulnerable population groups. It did identify, however, that 

“amongst asylum seekers and refugees, mental health problems include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and phobias, with rates up to 5 times higher than in the general population. There is evidence of late booking, poor antenatal care and poor pregnancy outcomes”. 



Migrant Health Intelligence Pack 

The South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM) and Public Health England South East (PHESE) have worked in partnership to produce this Migrant Health Intelligence Pack for a range of practitioners, policy makers, public services, NGOs  and interested parties. It aims to provide a factual resource, including clarity on entitlements and access to services.



West Midlands Commissioning Guidance 

Produced in July, 2017, this this guidance is for decision makers that commission health services. The aim of this guidance is to promote good practice for commissioning decisions and provide a greater level of information to help assess potential impacts for this vulnerable group of people. This guidance aims to promote equality and uphold human rights of people claiming asylum.

The guidance provides decision makers:

  • General information about Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  • Health problems and other determinants associated with Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  • Common experiences in relation to health care
  • Considerations for Equality Impact Risk Assessments
  • Recommendations



MIND : Commissioning for Migrant Communities

The mental health needs of migrants are greater than most and they often face a number of obstacles accessing mental health services, including the language barrier, cultural differences, stigma, racism and confusion.

MIND has prepared a manual to help local decision makers, commissioners and service providers better understand and assess the needs of vulnerable migrant communities. 



Health Services Management Centre : Healthcare for Refugees

The Centre provides quick overviews of the latest guidance and evidence. They have collated information about “Healthcare for refugees”.



World Psychiatric Association (WPA)

The WPA has produced guidance on mental health and mental healthcare in migrants. Its purpose is to review currently available evidence on mental health problems in migrants and to present advice to clinicians and policy makers on how to provide migrants with appropriate and accessible mental health services. 

The three phases of the process of migration and the relevant implications for mental health are outlined, as well as the specific problems of groups such as women, children and adolescents, the elderly, refugees and asylum seekers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The concepts of cultural bereavement, cultural identity and cultural congruity are discussed. 

The epidemiology of mental disorders in migrants is described. A series of recommendations to policy makers, service providers and clinicians aimed to improve mental health care in migrants are provided, covering the special needs of migrants concerning pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies.


The Children’s Society 

The Children’s Society has produced information and guidance about supporting young carers in refugee families. It has put together a Whole Family Pathway tool, which is a resource for all practitioners who have contact with young carers and their families. In addition to this it has produced a refugee toolkit. 

This good practice resource helps agencies to stay informed about the needs, rights and entitlements of young refugees and asylum seekers - including those who take on inappropriate caring roles for another person and could be a young carer. 



Health and Human Rights Information

The website of Health and Human Rights Info enables users to search for publications related to Health and Human Rights using a variety of categories e.g. organisations, guidelines and manuals, publications. 



The Refugee Support Network

For young refugees arriving in Europe, education is a priority: it’s how lives begin to be rebuilt and hope for the future is rekindled. The Refugee Support Network helps young refugees and survivors of trafficking to build more hopeful futures through education.

It provides educational mentoring, specialist educational support, access to higher education, research, consultancy and training. 



Coram  and the Migrant Children’s Project 

Coram, formerly known as the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, has developed new approaches to childcare and education that are informed by developments in child psychiatry that highlights the importance of children’s emotional wellbeing and need for secure family placement. 

The Migrant Children’s Project is delivered by Coram Children’s Legal Centre and promotes the rights of all refugee and migrant children, young people and families and works to ensure that they received the protection and support they need, whether they are unaccompanied or in a family. 

It provides free advice, information for professionals, information sharing, training, policy development and research. 



City of Sanctuary Mental Health Resource Pack 

It comes with a range of case studies and vignettes to help give mental health professionals an understanding of experiences of asylum seekers and refugees.



MIND Report

MIND has produce a report“Improving mental health support for refugee communities – an advocacy approach” it provides an overview of issues relating to mental, which can also be useful for training



Royal College of Psychiatrists 

Asylum Seekers and Refugees Mental Health Network: this has been set up to  

  • To allow psychiatrists working with asylum seekers and refugees to maintain an awareness of this changing and evolving area.
  • To provide a source of information on resources for this patient group.
  • To share information on the latest evidence base for treatment.
  • To offer peer support, allowing psychiatrists to share accounts of their clinical experience with this group.

 It is in the process of developing material that supports better clinical approaches to working with refugees



Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)

The RCGP has identified several organisations that work with asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants and listed these on its website. 



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Wessex Refugee Resource

This is a website compiled by medical trainees, which provides a range of resources and guidance for health care staff. 

www.wessexrefugeeresource.com  (The website currently being updated.)


Action for Child Trauma International

Formerly known as the Luna Children's Charity based in Alton, ACT International holds a licence to train people to use the Children’s Accelerated Trauma Treatment (CATT) programme. CATT was developed by Dr Carlotta Raby, a psychoterapist and psycholgist, who works for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust

Training is specifically for humanitarian purposes and for people who are without sufficient resources to access UK-based training. It is culturally adaptable and has been used by people in 13 countries. There has been one training course in this country and a second is being considered, prbably in Wessex. 



Southampton and Winchester 

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment : Inequalities Profiles : Vulnerable Migrants (April 2014) 

This report compiles information from routine data sources about the numbers of migrants recorded in Southampton and from where they have come. It also gives reference to other sources of data. 



Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group

This is a voluntary organisation with a Visiting Team of over 40 trained volunteers are all engaged in our core work of weekly one-to-one befriending and support to local asylum seekers and refugees. The team is led by the Coordinator and two Deputy

Coordinators who organise initial assessments for each newly referred asylum seeker, appoint visitors, monitor developments and respond to problems

In 2017 it started to rent a house in Southampton to use as a hostel for up to six people. The house has been full throughout and allows us to accommodate those who struggle to find accommodation elsewhere


Annual Review   http://swvg-refugees.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/SWVG-2017.pdf


City Life Education and Action for Refugees (CLEAR)

James St, Centre, James Street, Southampton SO14 1PJ. Telephone (023) 8022 1111

CLEAR aims to improve the quality of life for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Southampton, providing free advice and supporting people in accessing local services to which they are entitled. They receive empowerment through education, and practical support to establish and develop refugee communities.



The United Voices of African Associations (TUVAA)  

TUVAA delivers sessions at Ropewalk Centre, 53 Derby Road SO14 0DJ (as part of West Itchen Community Trust Ltd). 



City of Sanctuary, Southampton  

A group working to ensure the city’s communities offer a warm and welcoming place for refugees and asylum seekers, through practical support projects and by organising events and publicity



Southampton Action 

A charity focused on practical people-to-people support for refugees in Southampton and elsewhere, including camps across Europe



Doctors of the World Right to Care training 

Local volunteers (Rachael Marsh and Ilaf Moslawi) are able to offer this training. Contact John Acres john.acres@winchester.ac.uk)  for more information. 


West Itchen Community Trust 

West Itchen Community trust provides some support for refugees 



Southampton Student Action for Refugees  (STAR)

STAR's aim is to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers through campaigns, and to educate others on refugees and how the asylum process works so to dispel myths and the negative portrayal of refugees in the media.

It also work alongside charities in Southampton to help local refugees. 

Its campaign (Autumn 2018) is called Equal Access, which is aiming to get the University of Southampton to provide home fees, scholarships or bursaries to refugees so that further education is more accessible to them.



Bournemouth and Poole 

International Care Network (ICN)

This is the main charity supporting refugees and asylum-seekers in Bournemouth and Poole. 

It helps them by giving them advice and support on immigration, employment and in finding accommodation. In addition, it offers English classes for those who are not able to access mainstream education. 

ICN also provides a service to Local Authorities in helping them to settle Syrian families coming to the UK under the government Vulnerable Persons Scheme. It is also contracted to care for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.



Bournemouth and Poole City of Sanctuary 

Its vision is that Bournemouth and Poole will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.

It aims to achieve this by:

  • Enabling individuals and organisations to support refugees and asylum seekers to settle and integrate with the local community.
  • Celebrating the contribution of refugees and asylum seekers to our local community, and to UK.
  • Advocating for policies that have a positive impact on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.



Bournemouth University : Refugee and Migrant Leisure Network (RMLN)

The Refugee and Migrant Leisure Network (RMLN) connects Bournemouth University academics working within the Centre for Events, Leisure, Society and Culture (CELSC) with local community partners. By bringing together academic researchers and Dorset-based organisations working with refugees and migrants, RMLN aims to generate collaborative, community-led research to grow our knowledge of how leisure (including art, sport, culture and heritage) can contribute to refugee and migrant wellbeing.




Rural Refugee Network

The Rural Refugee Network was set up in 2018 and works across Hampshire and West Sussex. It helps Syrian refugees resettle into rural communities across the UK. It was set up to address the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons initiative, which doesn’t cover rural areas.

It helps rehouse Syrian individuals and families, providing them with the resources and support they need to resettle and feel part of their community, however long their stay.

It cannot do this without support. Councils, schools, synagogues, mosques, churches, landlords, local charities – there are so many organisations involved in the process. It involves around 70 people from health and social care, business, education, construction, media and planning. 



Winchester City of Sanctuary

This group was formed during 2020 and is in the process of developing its priority areas of work. It can be contacted through info@winchester.cityofsanctuary.org. 


British Red Cross

The British Red Cross supports vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers. It offers care and support when people arrive in the UK after a political or humanitarian crisis.

As part of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, it also helps people who are forced to flee their homes to help them find safe and legal routes to new countries.




A Practical Toolkit for Supporting Refugee and Asylum-Seekers in Secondary Schools (2017)

This guidance was produced by the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service,in conjunction with the Virtual School in response to the growing numbers of refugee and asylum-seeking pupils arriving in the city and beyond. 

These young people, often unaccompanied, arrive in our secondary schools with sometimes very little notice and teachers and pastoral staff will often ask for guidance and support from us in a myriad of situations. The guidance is intended to go some way to addressing the concerns of staff and will enable schools to provide as positive a welcome and as full an education as they can. 

The guidance comprises this short introductory booklet and then a series of separate 'advice and information' cards which can be used to focus on different aspects of school provision.



Chichester : The Sanctuary

Sanctuary in Chichester is a group of 200 or so local people committed to making the Chichester area a welcoming place for refugees and asylum seekers. It provides a wide range of practical services as well as advocacy. 



Reading : Needs Assessment 

Healthwatch Reading has produced with Reading Refugee Support Group a report “Our top three priorities” by refugees and asylum seekers in Reading and the charity that supports them.  (May 2018) 

Key things that refugees and asylum seekers would like are 

  • Better access to interpreters 
  • Accessible information about what they can expect in and from healthcare services
  • Healthcare staff who make sure people understand things, like their diagnosis and what will happen next with their care. 

The Reading Refugee Support Group called for 

  • Removal of barriers to healthcare e.g. lack of interpreters and information 
  • Quicker, better and culturally sensitive support for mental health issues
  • Acknowledgement of the extra stress faced by people who act as carers for family members



Reading : Refugee Support Group 

The Reading Refugee Support Groups helps refugees to be independent, to access their rights and to encourage their self-esteem and confidence. It provides an advice service, English language classes and other services. 



Oxford : Mental health - Refugee Resource Oxford   

Refugee Resource aims to relieve distress, improve well-being and facilitate the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants – mainly in Oxfordshire – by providing psychological, social and practical support.

It currently delivers the following core services as a means of meeting this overall aim:

  • Specialised counselling and psychotherapy (with interpreters when necessary)
  • Mentoring
  • A weekly Women’s Group
  • Services for men
  • Advice and advocacy



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Psychological first aid : Guide for field workers : This guide covers psychological first aid which involves humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events. It is written for people in a position to help others who have experienced an extremely distressing event. It gives a framework for supporting people in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities. 

Endorsed by many international agencies, the guide reflects the emerging science and international consensus on how to support people in the immediate aftermath of extremely stressful events.



Refugee Council 

The Refugee Council provides a wide range of courses



Freedom from Torture

Freedom from Torture runs a one-day training programme around vicarious trauma – a potential impact of supporting people who have experienced serious trauma. Participants learn about what vicarious trauma is and risk factors as well as identify some strategies for looking after themselves and strategies that can be used in their teams and organisations. 



Medical Peace Work 

The Medical Peace Work partnership is built on a European network of medical peace organizations and teaching institutions. It has produced a variety of online training materials. 



Online Training materials through FutureLearn



Centre for Spirituality, Theology and Health 

Provides religiously-integrated training videos, manuals and workbooks on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faiths. 



Primary Care

Safe Surgeries Training

Doctors of the World offers a range of specialist training workshops for NHS staff, drawing on our experience of supporting refugees, migrants and asylum seekers to overcome barriers to healthcare. The workshops focus on the health needs and entitlements of these vulnerable groups and are suitable for professionals working in health and social welfare settings.

Key audiences are GP Reception Staff, Clinical Staff, Clinical Commissioning Groups and other health communities.  



Safe Surgeries Network  

A Safe Surgery can be any GP practice which commits to taking steps to tackle the barriers faced by many migrants in accessing healthcare. At a minimum, this means declaring your practice a 'Safe Surgery' for everyone and ensuring that lack of ID or proof of address, immigration status or language are not barriers to patient registration.

The Safe Surgeries initiative aims to improve access to healthcare for excluded people by driving practice change in the NHS. We offer training to professionals working in primary and secondary care and host a supportive network of GP practices who are committed to delivering inclusive and accessible services for everyone in their communities. 

The Network offers a Safe Surgery Toolkit, Safe Surgeries Training and a national network that can provide support. 



Mental Health 


Young Minds offers training on working with young refugees to improve mental health and well-being. They offer open access and in-house training. 




MIND offers a range of training and consultancy services on mental health. 


MIND’s Report “Improving mental health support for refugee communities – an advocacy approach”can also be useful for training. 



Refugee Council Training Courses    

The Refugee Council courses include one on mental health.



Freedom from Torture

Freedom from Torture has produced “Refugees and Mental Health: Issues for Training”, which provides guidance and issues for training in refugee mental health. 



City of Sanctuary 

City of Sanctuary has produced a “City of Sanctuary Mental Health Resource Pack”



Royal College of Psychiatrists : Asylum Seekers and Refugees Mental Health Network

 This has been set up to 

    • To allow psychiatrists working with asylum seekers and refugees to maintain an awareness of this changing and evolving area.
    • To provide a source of information on resources for this patient group.
    • To share information on the latest evidence base for treatment.
    • To offer peer support, allowing psychiatrists to share accounts of their clinical experience with this group.

It is in the process of developing material that supports better clinical approaches to working with refugees



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What follows is a very limited reference to the research and research organisations available. It is hoped that others will be able to expand this section. 


a)    Organisations


Forced Migration Network, University of Winchester 

The University of Winchester is developing a Centre for the study of Forced Migration. A Forced Migration Network has been established to help connect those involved or interested in this topic. Enquiries should be made to terri.sandison@winchester.ac.uk


Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford 

The Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) was founded in 1982 as part of the Oxford Department of International Development (Queen Elizabeth House) at the University of Oxford. 

Its mission is to build knowledge and understanding of the causes and effects of forced migration in order to help improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.



London International Development Centre Migration Leadership Team

The London International Development Centre Migration Leadership Team (LIDC-MLT) is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop a shared and participatory global strategy for identifying and supporting migration research.

Findings will feed into outputs including: a web-based tool and a report identifying areas of research priorities; examples of pathways to impact that have been, or are likely to be, promising; and platforms for communication and collaboration that are likely to help bridge research, policy, and public engagement.



Freedom from Torture 

Freedom from Torture supports research and has access to a wide range of research which supports its advocacy. 


Hidden Needs: Identifying key vulnerable groups in data collections: Aspinall (2014) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287805/vulnerable_groups_data_collections.pdf


b)    Research carried out by people in Wessex 

Using the right to health and to promote universal health coverage: A better tool for protecting non-nationals' access to affordable health care? Lougarre C (2016) Health and Human Rights, 18(2), 35-47.

Research in progress by Lougarre C : 

‘The protection of 'non-nationals' in human rights treaties: The case of economic, social and cultural rights treaties’ (non-nationals is a legal term encompassing refugees, as well as asylum-seekers, documented and undocumented migrants). 

“Being a Refugee University Student: A Collaborative Auto-ethnography” : R Student, Kathleen Kendall, Lawrence Day : Journal of Refugee Studies,  2017. Published by Oxford University Press


c)     Other

The integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers 

This is a publication by the British Academy for the humanities and social sciences supported by the Paul Hamlyn Association. It examines successful integration projects, drawing lessons from clear evidence about methods that can improve social integration and result in long-term cohesion in society. 



Dignity in Displacement : A Review of the Literature

This report from the Overseas Development Institute seeks to provide a better understanding of what dignity means to displaced people in different places at different times, to help humanitarian action accomplish what it so often sets out to do – to uphold the dignity of the displaced.




Refugees in Higher Education: Debate, Discourse and Practice


Jacqueline Stevenson, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Sally Baker, University of New South Wales, Australia

This book examines the key debates relating to the rights, responsibilities, policies and practices of the higher education sector when dealing with students from refugee backgrounds. 

Refugee Education: Integration and Acceptance of Refugees in Mainstream Society


Strategies, Policies and Directions for Refugee Education



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