How You Can Help Refugees in Northern Ireland

Would your organisation like to offer a positive welcome to refugees in Northern Ireland or specifically in your region?

Many individuals and community groups have asked how they can help or have offered help. Below you will find a link to a Register of Interest form for voluntary Community Support. This form is used to ensure we keep a clear record of offers of community support and that we can ensure appropriate safeguarding mechanisms are in place.


This is not an appeal for money. Anyone wishing to make financial donations can contact us directly by email or phone: or 028 9032 5835 

Or click here for more information

Please note, it is also not an offer of funding – your offer of community support is entirely voluntary.

It is essential that you read and adhere to the official Safeguarding Guidance on the VPR scheme before engaging in Community Support.


Why is the Community Support Scheme needed?

The aim of ‘Community Support’ is to provide relevant ways for refugees to feel welcome, understand the local area and find out about local services.  It is also for local communities to understand issues around migration and refugees and to have the opportunity to explain their services to refugees.


Can individuals register?

We are keen that individuals can volunteer but it is important to understand that because refugees are a vulnerable group of people, we can only accept offers of community support from constituted or recognised organisations. If you are an individual wishing to volunteer you need to:

  • Find an established organisation who are happy to have you volunteer through them.
  • Follow any vetted or safeguarding procedures put in place by the organisation.

For a list of volunteer roles available within the Consortium and the partner organisations we are already working with, please see our Volunteer Opportunities Catalogue.


What type of voluntary Community Support is needed?

  • Donations for Starter Packs - Schoolbags/stationery for school children, toys, baby clothes, packs of underwear for all ages, coats, umbrellas.
  • Vouchers – For locally accessible supermarket, chemists, etc. They will be allocated by staff working with the families and in accordance to needs.
  • Awareness of local services – It is important refugees understand how society and its services work. This could be a statutory or community service. Your organisation could come to speak to the refugees about your service or offer to host them to come and see your service, e.g. Library, community centre, advice services, health and wellbeing, etc.
  • Socialising / Networking – Refugees need places and opportunities to interact in safe settings with each other and with the wider community.  Does your organisation have an existing space and/or small group of people who meet regularly: a coffee morning, a book club, a women’s/men’s group, a cooking demonstration or another type of social project?
  • Local Cultural Awareness – It is important that refugees understand local culture. Could your group offer a free cultural experience or a free visit to a local tourist attraction?
  • Apprenticeships/Volunteering/Employment - Refugees will come with particular skills, interests and ambitions but may need support to access opportunities. Would your organisation be able to offer a supportive apprenticeship, volunteering or employment experience?
  • Sport, Music, Dance - Is your organisation experienced in this field?  Could you offer an hour or two’s activity for adults and/or youth?
  • Facilities - Do you have a community space that you could offer for free for a day or an evening or weekend to host any of the support/community integration activities mentioned above?
  • Transport – Could you offer a bus, buses or mini-buses to help with transportation needs (having disability access would be useful), e.g. to and from events, to accommodation arrangements and in order to help distribute donations, etc.

This list is not an exhaustive or definitive list so please feel free to offer any additional form of support or sponsorship that you may be able to provide.


What happens after my organisation registers?

Your registration form will be acknowledged by email. The Consortium co-ordinator will compile a list of the offers of Community Support individually tailored to each group of refugees arriving through the VPR scheme. Once the refugees have settled in, the Consortium will liaise with them and their designated Key workers to show them the community support offers. The interests and needs of the refugees will then be foremost in deciding which offers of community support will be followed up on. 

The Consortium cannot offer any guarantee that all offers of community support will be accepted.  It is vital that the needs of refugees are paramount in work developed with them.