As Scotland’s national refugee charity, we’re committed to helping people in every part of the country feel safe and secure in their new communities.

Last year, we supported more than 7,480 people seeking safety in 30 out of Scotland’s 32 local council areas. Here’s how we helped.

Expanding our national helpline

We expanded our national helpline to meet the growing need for support. Our multilingual advisers answered over 10,000 calls from people seeking urgent information and advice – more than double the previous year.

“My experience with the Scottish Refugee Council Helpline was excellent I’m so lucky that I got help from them. The staff were very nice and kind to me. I can’t thank you more!” – Najwa

I felt confused about the system. Scottish Refugee Council explained to me really well on the phone what my rights are. Thank you to them and their kindness” – Salim

Helping newly arrived families  

We supported 72 newly arrived families – including 144 children – to understand the complex asylum system and begin rebuilding their lives in Scotland.

We’re there for parents and children at every step in their asylum journey, helping them access healthcare and education, find legal and financial support and make connections in their new communities.

“The service is really, really helping me. My case manager goes the extra mile to resolve issues for me. She has been my strength in Scotland.” 

Find out how we’re offering newly arrived families a helping hand

Responding to the war against Ukraine

We helped shape Scotland’s emergency response to the war against Ukraine.

Our amazing meet and greet volunteers welcomed more than 1,200 people at Glasgow airport. They also started a ‘chatty café’ so people in hotel accommodation could meet over a slice of cake to play games, practice speaking English and, most importantly, have fun.

Soon after arriving in Scotland, Tetiana began volunteering to greet fellow Ukrainians.

“The best thing is feeling that you are useful and can help somebody. I know how it feels when you come to a strange country for the first time. You don’t know what tomorrow will be or where you will stay. It’s really scary. 

“When I arrived, I was so scared. I had read about what to do but I didn’t know how it would be. It’s really great when there’s someone you can ask. Even more when they can speak to you in your own language.” 

In the last year, have helped 530 families fleeing the war against Ukraine to settle in communities across Scotland.

We held regular information sessions, helping:

  • 1,020 people from Ukraine understand their rights in Scotland
  • 640 Scottish hosts find out how to welcome guests from Ukraine in their homes

We also established five community networks connecting local services, councils and people from Ukraine, so they can work together to help new arrivals settle in.

Nastasiya (not her real name) arrived from Ukraine last year. She told us: “I would like to thank you for your understanding, support and help. Moving to Scotland is a big challenge for each of us, but with your help we manage to integrate quickly.”

Supporting more of Scotland’s most vulnerable children

Last year, 743 unaccompanied children were helped to feel safe and secure by our Guardianship Scotland service, run in partnership with Aberlour Children’s Charity.

And we’re set to help even more of the country’s most vulnerable young people. We’ve secured funding from the Scottish Government to provide every unaccompanied asylum-seeking and trafficked child in Scotland with an independent guardian to support them and speak up on their behalf.

One of the young people supported by Guardianship Scotland said this about their guardian: “I knew I had somebody there I could trust. I knew I had someone there that I could open up and tell how I felt inside.” 

Rachel Lamb
Author: Rachel Lamb