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Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK

Organisations and resources for musicians who would like to do more to support refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

Counterpoints Arts – our Refugee Membership Scheme partner

The MU is delighted to partner with Counterpoints Arts for our Refugee Membership Scheme, which gives refugees one year’s free membership of the Musicians’ Union.

Refugee musicians membership

Organisations supporting refugees

Learn about the specific challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers, including resources to signpost and other ways to support people seeking sanctuary in your community.

UK wide

Counterpoints Arts

Counterpoints Arts support and produce art by and about migrants and refugees to ensure that their contributions are recognised and welcomed in UK art, history and culture.

Based in London, Counterpoints works nationally and internationally. Their work is based on the belief that arts can inspire social change, enhance inclusion and support cultural integration.

They also run Refugee Week, which runs every June and encourages people to do 8 Simple Acts in solidarity with refugees.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross offers emergency help, one to one support, casework and special services for children and families including help with family reunion. They are also campaigning for a more compassionate way to support refugees.

Campaign for Afghanistan’s Musicians

The Campaign for Afghanistan’s Musicians is an international effort to protect Afghanistan’s musicians and their rich musical traditions at a time of crisis. Their mission is to protect Afghanistan’s musicians, raise awareness, advocate for and assist them in sustaining and rebuilding their lives.

Activities include a concert of all new works by Afghan composers, and a featured article for the Musicians’ Union by musician and former head of the Music Department for the Faculty of Fine Arts at Kabul University Associate Professor Dr Waheedullah Saghar.

Find out more about how you can help – from hosting or supporting an event to volunteering your time and talents.

Citizens UK

Citizens UK run the Communities for Ukraine refugee sponsorship programme. The programme works with Ukrainian Sponsorship Pathway UK and local civil society organisations – including community groups, faith groups, businesses and universities - to provide an end-to-end supported process for hosts and Ukrainian guests.

Citizens UK is working on making support available to more people seeking refuge in the UK, and is working with Government to build on Communities for Ukraine’s safe, supported and sustainable processes for people facing humanitarian crises in the future.

Learn more about the programme, including how to sign up as a host and support Citizens UK provides.

City of Sanctuary UK

City of Sanctuary UK is building a movement of welcome across the UK. With the support of community groups, councils, schools and libraries, they are pushing back against the hostility and division pushed by some politicians and press, and supporting people seeking sanctuary in our communities.

They provide practical training and opportunities for people with lived experiences of asylum, and resources and other tools to help local City of Sanctuary groups build networks of welcome where they are.

Learn more, join your local group, and get organisations you work with to sign the City of Sanctuary pledge.

Micro Rainbow

Micro Rainbow provides safe housing, facilitates access to employment, volunteering, training and education and provides social inclusion activities to LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees.

They run a helpline for LGBTQI migrants, and launched the first ever helpline in the UK for people fleeing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

There are lots of ways to get involved, from signing up to their newsletter, signposting services to volunteering as a translator / interpreter.

Migrant Help

Migrant Help helps those seeking asylum in the UK apply for accommodation and financial support, report issues with accommodation, and any other advice people need during their asylum journey.

The organisation works with individual families settling into their new communities, providing specialist support services and helping people access healthcare, education and employment.

There are lots of ways to support their work – from volunteering to connecting Migrant Help with organisations you work with.

Music Action

Music Action works with facilitators from around the world to deliver creative sessions with refugees, asylum seekers and Roma people.

They also provide refugee and trauma awareness talks, performances and commissions as well as programme consultancy if you’re thinking about working with people seeking sanctuary in the UK.

No Recourse to Public Funds - for social workers and other council officers who are working with non-UK national families

The No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Network is a national network safeguarding the welfare of destitute families, adults and care leavers who are unable to access benefits due to their immigration status.

The network supports councils to prevent homelessness, alleviate child poverty, promote integration within local communities, and to operate cost-efficient services.

Rainbow Railroad

Rainbow Railroad is a global not-for-profit organisation that helps LGBTQI+ people escape state-sponsored violence and oppression.

They’ve helped thousands of people find safety through emergency relocation and other forms of assistance, and are supported by a global network of activists and human rights defenders.

Refugee Action

Refugee Action supports people to build safe, happy and productive lives in the UK. They provide advice and guidance to people navigating the asylum system, help those with refugee status settle in their new home and communities, and campaign against anti-refugee laws.

Campaigning includes actions you can take, such as writing to your MP, and essential research on topics such as accommodation and asylum support.

Right to Remain

Right to Remain provides information, accessible resources, community training, and assistance to people to establish their right to remain in the UK. Resources include the Right to Remain Toolkit, Asylum Navigation Board, and the Young Asylum Guide.

UCU Migrants Network

MU members who are joint members with the UCU can find out more about the UCU’s Migrant Members’ Standing Committee, and their annual conference for migrant members. They also provide a range of legal support.


Refugee Council (England)

Refugee Council provides support and services to refugee and asylum seekers in the UK and those supporting people through the asylum process. They also campaign for a fair and humane asylum system.

Pathways to Independence UK

Pathways offer a range of services to young people from a refugee and asylum background in South East England. They work with new arrivals to the UK, unaccompanies asylum-seeking minors, care experienced young people, and young parents, and offer accommodation and person-centred support.


Scottish Refugee Council

Scottish Refugee Council is an independent charity supporting people going through the UK’s asylum system in Scotland. Their work includes practical support and advice - including specific services for children, families, new refugees and those experiencing destitution while seeking refugee protection - as well as campaigning for policy change.

They also run a helpline for refugees and people seeking asylum in Scotland, and individuals and organisations looking to help people seeking safety.  


Welsh Refugee Council

The Welsh Refugee Council empowers sanctuary seekers and refugees to build new futures in Wales by partnering with community, voluntary and statutory sectors to increase their impact and to ensure their clients can flourish. They deliver direct specialist support to clients across Wales, from their offices in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, and Wrexham. 

Clients are also able to book face to face appointments with an experienced case worker. For more information, please visit the WRC contact us section.

Oasis Cardiff

Oasis Cardiff provides support for roughly 100-150 visitors each day from around the globe, including people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, El Salvador and the Ivory Coast, among many other countries.

During the week the centre is open to refugees and asylum seekers, where the charity runs various women-only sessions and groups, art classes, English language classes, sports sessions, daily advisory sessions, advocacy forums, relaxation sessions and more. They also provide free lunch every weekday.

Northern Ireland

Bryson Intercultural

Bryson Intercultural’s Asylum Advice Service provides asylum seekers with information and support for claiming asylum in Northern Ireland. They are a non-governmental agency and provide a free and confidential service.

Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

NICRAS is the only refugee-led organisation in Northern Ireland that represents the interests of the refugee community. Their aim is to support the integration process of refugees and asylum seekers into local communities throughout Northern Ireland.

A year of free MU membership for refugee musicians

Musicians escaping famine, conflict, and persecution can now get a free membership of the Musicians' Union for one year. 

Explore our member services

  • Help with contracts
  • Insurances for work
  • Expert career advice, resources, and training events
  • Community of musicians in the UK

Learn about Refugee Membership

A year of free MU membership for refugee musicians