This week in the UK: Syrian refugee helps NHS; community sponsorship looks ahead; food hubs

Across the country people are delivering for those who are vulnerable.

Germany. Refugee student delegation visits Free University of Berlin on World Refugee Day 2019

Refugee students meet in Berlin, Germany, on World Refugee Day 2019.  © UNHCR/Antoine Tardy

In the UK, measures to restrict the spread of Coronavirus have been in place for around three weeks. During this time, the country has come together at the national and local levels to make sure the vulnerable are protected and no one gets left behind.

This resolve has become stronger as more people start working together to help. An impressive example of the work being done is the Help The Hungry Campaign; more than 40 distribution hubs have been set up by the campaign across London to get food to over 150,000 vulnerable people in the capital.  

With this week’s update, we continue to highlight just some of the people taking action during these challenging times.  

Spotlight: Bafta-winning refugee Hassan Akkad sends a message from the frontline 

Hassan Akkad, who won a Bafta for the documentary he made of his journey to safety as a Syrian refugee, tweeted about his new role as a cleaner in a London hospital. He said he was “honoured to join an army of cleaners disinfecting Covid wards.” 

He applied to join the NHS volunteers as soon as it was open, and then applied to a local hospital to work as a cleaner on Covid-19 wards. He said he was overwhelmed by the messages of support he has received from around the country. 


Simple acts can make people’s day



This message really does show that just reaching out and staying in touch can make a difference.  

Community Sponsorship groups continue to look to the future



By making the most of virtual meetings, refugee community sponsorship groups have been sharing experiences and ideas to make sure that families continue to get the support they need as they settle into life in the UK. 

Reset help community sponsorship groups prepare to welcome refugees to their neighbourhood. This week they shared the news that applications are still coming in. This is positive for the future allowing these groups to plan to welcome refugees to the UK when flights resume. 

See UNHCR’s post on supporting refugees in the UK:  

Befriending project moves online 

City of Sanctuary, Swindon, have extended their befriending service to allow volunteers to continue supporting vulnerable and isolated people. While the coronavirus crisis keeps people physically apart, this service will mean that people can still reach out to the vulnerable in their homes.  

“With many current volunteers keen to help from home and with those seeking sanctuary becoming very isolated during these times of lockdown, we wanted to offer a hand of friendship,” they said. 

For more information, visit the New Remote Befriender Project website. 

Get involved - #EasteratHome  


Consonant help refugees and asylum seekers build their lives in the UK. To stay connected and bring some creativity to an Easter weekend at home, they are running an egg decorating competition.  

To enter, decorate an egg with an Easter theme or draw a picture of an Easter egg and Tweet a photo to @Consonant_UK, or post to a . The post with the most likes will win a copy of the children’s book ‘The Girl Who Lost Her Country’.