Refugee Crisis - what can I do?

The Guardian

Photograph: Angelos Tzortzinis/Getty

Refugee crisis - what are you doing?

In collaboration with North Somerset Council and Refugees Welcome North Somerset, VANS are building this page to provide a comprehensive list of ways citizens of North Somerset can get involved or help.

Tell us what your organisation is doing or those you work with are doing so we can add them here. Please email details to or via our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter, or by phoning the office on 01934 416486.

Please share this page as widely as possible. (The content of this page is provided for information only. VANS does not endorse or recommend any organisation).

How you can help


Donate to Voluntary Action North Somerset. All the money donated will go to supporting the Syrian refugee families in North Somerset. Click on the button below to donate using your credit card, bank transfer or PayPal.

Get involved locally

A community of volunteers from across the county, Refugees Welcome North Somerset:

  • Coordinates a countywide networking facility for volunteers 

  • Respectfully welcomes newly settled families into their homes in North Somerset 

  • Campaigns on behalf of families for whom there is still no safe place for them to go 

  • Campaigns on behalf of unaccompanied children in urgent need of care promotes fund raising efforts of national and international groups and charities

  • Runs local donation points to maintain predictable steady stream of key food items for refugees in Europe

  • Donate food to be distributed to people going hungry at home and in refugee camps.

  • Tinned tuna, unsalted nuts, tinned pulses and hiking socks at Nailsea Unit Trust, Crown Glass Shopping Centre, Sion Management Suite BS48 1RD

  • Basmati Rice, unsalted nuts, tinned pulses and hiking socks at Summit Outdoor Leisure, Wyndham Way, Portishead BS20 8LR (Car parking by Iceland or Aldi with 2 hour limit)
    Both donation points open Monday – Saturday 9am – 5.30pm



Learn more about the refugee crisis and how to get involved.




For more information on what the British Government is doing to help with the refugee crisis and how to help, please look at

This site will provide up-to-date information as well as links to organisations you can support.

How to donate to help the work supporting refugees?

National organisations


International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee is providing relief to millions of uprooted people inside Syria; in neighbouring Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan; in Afghanistan; on the shores of Greece; and in our 25 resettlement offices in the United States.


UN Refugee Agency

UNHCR provides basic and necessary humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees and helps the most vulnerable refugees with urgently needed relief - cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing.



Save the Children

Our teams are inside Syria giving children the basics they need to survive. They are also in neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Iraq, and along the whole route through Europe that refugees take, providing urgent relief as well as long-term aid to refugee children and their families. 


Oxfam has reached over one million people already with desperately needed food, water and shelter. But the scale of this emergency is huge and we still urgently need your help to continue supporting families forced from their homes by conflict.

Anaya Aid

Anaya Aid has been transporting vital humanitarian aid which consists of medical supplies, medical machinery, food, clothes and winter essentials via road convoys and container shipment. We have had a brilliant response from the local communities who have donated much needed supplies. We have sent over 20 containers to Syria.


Red Cross

Red Cross volunteers across Europe are working around the clock to support hundreds of thousands of refugees as they attempt to reach safety. From Turkey to Hungary, Greece to the UK – the Red Cross is striving to support people who flee war and persecution.


We are a group of volunteers collecting urgently needed donations for those living in the Calais refugee camps.



ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and vital supplies to support communities around the world overwhelmed by disaster and humanitarian crisis.

Médecins Sans Frontières

Despite significant constraints placed on the organisation, MSF continues to operate medical facilities inside Syria, as well as directly supporting more than 150 medical structures throughout the country. Throughout 2015, activities in neighboring countries have been scaled up and additional projects have been opened, but the needs remain enormous.

Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan’s Purse stands ready to respond at a moment’s notice whenever and wherever disaster strikes. We specialise in meeting critical needs for victims of conflict, disaster, famine, and epidemics throughout the world, often working through ministry partners on the ground. We provide food, water, shelter, medicine, and other assistance.

We also run the Christmas Child project.

Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS)

MOAS works to prevent refugees dying in the sea on their perilous journey across the Mediterranean. More than 10,000 men, women and children in distress have been rescued at sea by MOAS.

Lesvos Volunteers

Unprecedented numbers of refugees have arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos. Several large international NGOs are present. However, the needs far exceed the capacity of their staff. Lesvos Volunteers coordinates the efforts of teams of volunteers that support their work across the island.

Transform Europe Now

Transform Europe Now is a UK Christian organisation with

partners in Serbia and Macedonia that are actively involved in providing food and water for the refugees. Transform Europe Now has sent funds out to its partners in Serbia and Macedonia to enable them to continue the humanitarian programmes they are involved with.

Child sponsorship organisations


Human Care Syria

Established in 2011, Human Care Syria has funded dozens of large infrastructure programmes in war-torn Syria, including building and maintaining underground, bunker schools. Human Care Syria (HCS) believes that every child and especially the orphans have the right to be clothed, nourished, live a healthy life and have access to a good education.

SOS Children

SOS Children has worked with Syrian children since the 1970s, and is delivering essential and widespread emergency relief to help them cope during this difficult time. You can help Syrian children by sponsoring a child with SOS Children.

Local organisations


Bristol Refugee Rights was set up as a voluntary organisation in 2006, originally under the name Holding Refugees and Human Rights in Mind, to uphold and champion the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees.


Refugee Action in Bristol. For thirty years, we've been standing up for people who've fled persecution, violence and harassment.



Bristol City of Sanctuary Bristol officially launched as a City of Sanctuary in June 2011, and since then has been working hard to keep the momentum created from this going. We celebrate and welcome the diversity that makes up our city, believing it should be something to be proud of and that should be applauded.

Sign a petition

Adding your name to a petition shows the Government that people care, and that they want changes to happen. People in their hundreds of thousands have signed petitions encouraging the Government to accept more refugees into the UK. If you would like to add your voice visit this petitions page to encourage Parliament to accept more asylum seekers and provide more support for refugees.


Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol. Local group co-ordinating efforts to help Syrian refugees in Calais. They are fundraising to transport supplies and donating for priority needs for people in the camp in Calais. Click here to donate to their project. 

Stay informed

Check the United Nations Refugee Agency Twitter page for up to date information and ideas for solving the crisis. Keeping up to date with information about the crisis is important in making a difference, as you will know what the issues are and what needs to be done. Retweeting important information on your own account can also help spread the word.

Facebook and other informal groups
(as these might be temporary and informal, please contact them first to check how you can support them in the most appropriate manner)

The Worldwide Tribe Facebook page is a blog documenting the situation in Calais, and is a good source for refugees' personal stories.


Help for refugees - Portishead

This group has collected, sorted and sent clothing and supplies to refugees. Take a look at their video below. Contact them to find out how to get involved.



This group provides sweets to children in refugee camps across Europe.


Calais People to People Solidarity has organised collections of clothes, shoes, food and tents from various places across the UK and delivered them to refugees. Their page contains up to date advice on the current situation.


Find out about the work done by Help for Refugees Portishead:

Would you like to volunteer to support refugees & other vulnerable members of our community?

Refugee Council

The Refugee Council is one of the leading charities in the UK working directly with refugees, and supporting them to rebuild their lives.


Do-it is the national database of volunteering opportunities. Find out about all the different ways you can get involved and make a difference in your community.


Weston-super-Mare Food Bank

The foodbank network provides emergency food to local people in crisis. It is committed to community action against poverty and marginalisation in the UK and abroad.

Churches Together

Weston-super-Mare & District

Organisation bringing together the different Christian churches and denominations in Weston-super-Mare, to co-ordinate the work they each do to benefit the wider community.

FareShare South West

This year FareShare has provided 16.6 million meals to those who needed them the most. Can you help us do more by assisting us with recruiting volunteers to collect food for those in need this Christmas?

Volunteer with us at the Neighbourhood Food Collection

Twice a year we hold a Neighbourhood Food Collection in conjunction with Tesco and the Trussell Trust, which takes place in stores all over the UK. We are looking for volunteers to help by handing out ‘shopping lists’ to customers, collecting the donations they make, all the while spreading Christmas cheer. The event, which is taking place from the 3rd to the 5th of December, could not take place without the help of volunteers. The more people we can get involved, the more food we will be able to collect. Each shift is 3 hours; however, we understand how busy people are so are very happy for volunteers to give as much or as little time as they are able.

FareShare is a charity that takes food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributes it to charities across the UK. The food we receive as surplus is predominantly fresh produce, which we combine with store cupboard essentials such as rice and pasta, to provide healthy, well balanced meals.


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