Lewisham Council Homepage Skip navigation

Refugee Week 2023

Lewisham is proud to be the UK's first Borough of Sanctuary.


Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign street stall at 

Saturday 17 June, 11am-1pm, Lewisham Clocktower

Street stall with leaflets and speeches focusing on health charging for migrants as part of the Government's hostile environment.

Contact savelewishamhospital@yahoo.com, find us on Facebook @savelewishamhospitalnhs or visit Save Lewisham Hospital.

Make orange hearts - children’s craft sessions for Refugee Week 

Saturday 17 June, Lewisham Libraries

Orange hearts children’s craft sessions at Catford, Downham, Deptford Lounge and Lewisham Libraries.

Postcards from Limbo - a Refugee Week workshop

Tuesday 20 June, 5.30-7pm, Catford Library

A Refugee Week poetry writing workshop with poet Laila Sumpton.

Research Café and film screening

Wednesday 21 June, 12 noon-1pm, Goldsmiths Library, University of London (Study space ground floor Rutherford Building)

Research Café is a free, public-facing and informal lecture with an opportunity for audience questions.

We provide tea, coffee and biscuits in an accessible space. The special Research Cafe for Refugee Week will feature a film screening of Professor Sue Clayton's documentary on the Stanstead 15 as well as a reading from her forthcoming book.

Dixon Road, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW. Registration preferred but not essential. 

Performance and interactive workshop led by PsycheDelight theatre group

Sunday 25 June, 2-4pm, Migration Museum

Refugee Week performance and workshop at the Migration Museum in Lewisham shopping centre, led by PsycheDelight theatre group.

There will also be an LRMN stall to raise awareness and encourage Simple Acts aligned with Refugee Week to support sanctuary seekers.

Simple acts #SimpleActs

As the UK’s first Borough of Sanctuary, we are proud to welcome and support people seeking sanctuary – asylum seekers, migrants and refugees. The theme for Refugee Week 2023 is compassion. We’ve asked people seeking sanctuary in Lewisham about the simple acts that community members have done that made them feel welcome and have based our suggestions on this feedback.

  • “Contact with people is so important. A warm smile, a friendly ‘How are you?’, the body language.”
  • “When you feel welcome you start integrating.”
  • “People smiling at me, not ignoring me, made a big difference.”
  • “People reaching out to me really helped - I made a big effort to be more outgoing.”

What can we do in our community?

Welcome newcomers, whether it’s at work, in the neighbourhood or at the school gate. Offer to add new families to a parent WhatsApp group, extend a lunch invite to a new colleague or greet your new neighbour.

  • “I appreciate it when there are opportunities to be together as a community.”
  • “Shortly after we arrived, our neighbours organised a BBQ and invited us along. It made such a difference!”

Consider organising a community event, big or small like a BBQ or a picnic in the park.

  • “A little patience with the language barriers goes a long way!”

Slow down a little when talking to someone who is learning the language, simplify the language and repeat, when necessary. Finding your feet in a new language can be scary, be open and encouraging.

  • “Taking the time to explain how a system works to me helped me to understand everything better.”
  • “I really appreciated when people showed me where to go for help and support.”

Offer to help someone navigate the systems that are new to them. Research the sources of advice and support together.

  • “People at this charity stand up for me and encourage me. They give me a listening ear and help me find solutions.”

Support local organisations that help migrants and refugees such as Action for Refugees in Lewisham and Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network.

  • “It makes me feel welcome when people in my community stand up for migrants and refugees.”

Pledge your support to people seeking asylum, migrants and refugees by signing the Lewisham Borough of Sanctuary pledge. Get involved in national campaigns on issues affecting sanctuary seekers.

Find out more: Lewisham: Borough of Sanctuary