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Press Release – Help Refugees response to announcement that Section 67 ‘Dubs Amendment’ now ended 

Today the government has confirmed in the newly released Immigration Statistics that, after four years, the Section 67 ‘Dubs’ scheme has ended. Through this route, 480 unaccompanied children living in Europe have been brought to safety in the United Kingdom.

Where it started: the Calais Jungle camp

Whilst working in the Calais Jungle camp, five years ago, we were supporting hundreds of young children travelling without their families, some as young as six years old. We campaigned alongside Alf Dubs and organisations such as Safe Passage for an amendment to the Immigration Act that would allow the UK to offer sanctuary to unaccompanied minors, as Britain had done in WW2. Alf Dubs himself found sanctuary in the UK in this way when he was 6 years old hence the name the Dubs Amendment. Once it was passed as law, those of us working on the ground could see the government was taking no action to bring these children to safety. Help Refugees, along with our incredible supporters, launched a strategic litigation against the government in October 2016 to ensure they took action. During the week of the Calais Jungle camp evictions, starting on October 16th 2016, the UK government facilitated the legal transfer of 280 children. 

Refugees Welcome march

Help Refugees strategic litigation

What came next is nearly four years of legal challenges and campaigning to pressure the UK government to uphold its promise to provide refuge for children still living in dire conditions across Europe, and fill the remaining 200 spaces available. With a legal battle that has spanned over three years, it would be a stretch to call the Dubs scheme a ‘success’.

Over 215,000 unaccompanied children have applied for asylum in the European Union (EU) since 2015. The United Kingdom has welcomed a tiny number of these children. And very few have reached our shores through safe and legal routes of passage. An incomprehensibly slow, inefficient and unfair asylum system has left thousands of children living in limbo. In the time it’s taken for the Home Office to process the filling of the 480 spaces to which it committed, hundreds more children have gone missing. We have campaigned to hold the government to account at every step of the process and will continue to do so. 

The situation in 2020

Today, there are still over 6000 unaccompanied children living in makeshift refugee camps across Europe. With our amazing partners, we support these children with access to lawyers/rights, clothing, food, shelter and education. With conditions in Calais the worst they’ve ever been and thousands of children trapped on the Aegean islands in Greece, we must work harder than ever to ensure these children can find safety. Without safe and legal routes, children are pushed into the hands of smugglers and traffickers.

A huge thank you to our supporters

However amidst the struggles of the last five years we have also seen just how much people care. Local authorities, foster families, social workers and volunteers; Britain has shown its immense capacity to choose love. We would not have been able to achieve any of this work without you. Our supporters have campaigned tirelessly for the rights of unaccompanied refugee children. We would also like to especially thank our dear friend Lord Alf Dubs, without whom none of this work would have been possible. Alf has campaigned day and night to ensure that these 480 children have the right to a safe future in the UK.

“I am pleased by the news today that the children we have been campaigning for so hard to bring to safety are now here in Britain. But I have never accepted the cap at 480 places. We know that local authorities have capacity to take many more children. And we know that there are thousands of children sleeping outside tonight in refugee camps across Europe. There is a huge amount more work to be done to bring unaccompanied children to safety and to welcome them across Britain as we know has always been possible.”Lord Alf Dubs

For further information about our legal challenge please see here.

For more information/media comments please contact: 

Josie Naughton, CEO, Help Refugees

josie@helprefugees.org / Mobile – +44 7944559838

Maddy Allen, Advocacy Manager, Help Refugees  

maddy@helprefugees.org / Mobile – +44 7757722718 

 

Dubs Judicial Review Stella Creasy Juliet Stevenson

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‘Choose our NHS’ and ‘Choose our Carers’

We are all about supporting ordinary people doing extraordinary things, so when we saw the UK’s heroic NHS and care workers risking their lives to COVID-19 to help others, we knew we had to help. 

Celebrities wearing Choose our NHS and Choose our Carers

 

The ‘Choose our NHS’ and ‘Choose our Carers’ organic cotton tees, designed in collaboration with Katherine Hamnett, are our way of showing love to them. 100% of net profits go to NHS Charities Together and the Care Workers Charity and are matched by ASOS.

Celebrities wearing Choose our NHS and Choose our Carers

 

Launched on 1 May, we were honoured that so many public figures got behind the campaign and sent us pictures of themselves wearing the tees to show their support.

 

 

GET YOURS NOW

FAQs

  • 100% of net profits per adult t-shirt will be donated and matched by ASOS. This equates to around £14 (with more details available on ASOS’ website).
  • All profits of Choose Our NHS t-shirts will be donated to NHS Charities Together
  • All profits of Choose Our Carers t-shirts will be donated to The Care Workers Charity
  • Adult blank garments are sourced & produced through Tropics Knits, part of the CIEL group. It is one of ASOS’ longest-standing partners which supplies a large portion of ASOS Design jersey & leisure product
  • Tropics, whilst not manufacturing garments during the lockdown, currently has a small workforce producing masks & PPE for COVID-19 at all three of its sites. See: mymask.mu
  • Adult garments are made in Mauritius & Madagascar using organic cotton grown in India and are fully Gots certified.
  • Printing of adult garments is at Meesha Graphics in U.K. ASOS has worked with Meesha for 8 years. All inks we use are non-hazardous & are fully certified using OEKOTEX Standard 100.
  • Meesha is SMETA accredited
  • You can read about how ASOS is protecting its UK warehouse staff here.
  • You can find out how ASOS is working with its suppliers here.
  • You can read ASOS’ Modern Slavery Statement here
  • Kids t-shirts will be available at around the end of May and will be sold on Teemill. We will announce on social media when they’re online

#chooseourNHS #chooseourcarers

 

 

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COVID-19 in Northern France

COVID-19 in northern France: What that UK must do to help 

 

You can’t socially distance if you’re living in a tent. 

 

You can’t stay safe during this pandemic if, instead of helping you, the authorities are evicting you from that tent. 

 

While many aspects of everyday life have changed for many of us, the UK government’s hostile border policy in Northern France sadly remains unchanged. As a result, over 1000 displaced people are in an increasingly dangerous situation, unable to keep themselves safe or act according to government and health service advice to help protect wider public health.

 

Just this Wednesday, the French authorities evicted an area of tents in Calais, taking people’s shelter and leaving them with nothing. Even in the current unprecedented circumstances moving people on and confiscating tents happens every two days. A group of people tried to protest on Wednesday morning and were met with police violence. With tensions incredibly high, stones were allegedly thrown in the direction of police officers and heavy use of force and tear gas followed. The situation is growing more desperate and Covid-19 is making a political circumstance void of basic rights, even more deadly.

 

Together with Refugee Rights Europe, we’re asking that the UK government make changes to the way that the UK operates its border – to recognise both the huge suffering that the continuation of business-as-usual causes, as well as recognition that the COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the already dreadful situation of human rights in Northern France, even further.

 

By outsourcing its border to N.France, the UK has a responsibility to those who are at the door asking for help and the conditions that they are forced to survive in as a result of such political arrangements.

 

We hope that our recommendations are heard and that swift action by the UK government takes place – to protect the lives of people in northern France, and through truly prioritising their own public health advice, all of us.

 

The UK must: 

 

A. Allocate funding to the amount of £4.5 million (10% of that committed to more security in the 2018 Sandhurst Treaty) to support the French government’s ongoing strategy to offer accommodation and ensure that this funding is used to ensure universal access to dignified and safe shelter.

 

B. Instructing the UK Border Force (UKBF) not to return individuals arriving on UK territory to northern France. Those seeking protection arriving at UK shores at this time should be provided safe and humane reception while they await their asylum screening interviews and not fast-tracked to deportation or placed in any form of detention.

 

C. Allocate funding for the deployment of specialist Home Office caseworkers to northern France for extra efforts to identify and speed up transfer to the UK for at-risk groups and individuals such as victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors, LGBTQ+ persons and people with disabilities, victims of physical, mental or sexual abuse.

 

D. Guarantee that administrative immigration detention at the UK’s Short-Term Holding Facilities in northern France is discontinued – in line with the UK governments COVID-19 response rules, and international advice on the functioning of detention centres and prisons.

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2.6 Challenge | Join us and Choose Love!

We’re taking part in the 2.6 Challenge, the nationwide fundraising campaign to help save the UK’s charities!

 

Dad with a pram

We need your help!

 

You can fundraise for us by taking part in an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 – this could be anything from skipping for 2.6 minutes, tossing a pancake 26 times, or running 2.6 miles. There are limitless creative ways to get involved with the challenge, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

 

The challenge will launch on Sunday 26th April – what should have been the date of the 40th London Marathon. So, feel free to run 26 miles in honour of the occasion!

 

Every year the marathon raises £66.4 million, but this year things are little different and unfortunately, the marathon has had to be postponed. Instead, the organisers of the London Marathon have come together to save the UK’s charities by launching the 2.6 challenge.

 

Don’t worry if you’re not able to get out your house or flat for now – you can do the 2.6 challenge anywhere inside too! There are no rules, apart from the Government guidelines on how to exercise
safely during this time. Be as creative as you like – the main thing is to have fun and pledge whatever you can.

 

Here are some creative ideas from our supporters:

  • climb the stairs 26 times
  • do 26 outfit changes in a day
  • write 26 shorts stories
  • do 26 small doodles
  • run 2.6 miles
  • bake 26 cupcakes
  • hoola hoop for 26 minutes
  • complete 2.6 jigsaw puzzles
  • take 26 photographs around the house
  • hold a plank for 2.6 minutes!

 

We would love to see all the creative ideas you come up with so please share your efforts on social media and be sure to tag us @ChooseLove and #TwoPointSixChallenge.

 

It would be so wonderful to have your support! So please join the 2.6 challenge and Choose Love!

 

For more info on how to get involved visit
https://twopointsixchallenge.justgiving.com/get-involved

Choose Love 2.6 Challenge

 

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Covid-19 and the hostile environment

This situation has shown that we are all linked. If one of us is unsafe, we are all less safe. Society is fragile and is only held together by the kindness of people – by community.

 

Refugees and asylum seekers in the UK are part of our communities and the government needs to remove the restrictions – the hostile environment – that stop us coming together to protect each other and ourselves.

Hospitals should not be a hostile environment

 

The restrictions make no sense in our current times; when physical isolation is a necessity for those feeling sick, when the importance of universal healthcare has never been more stark, when we are all in this together.

 

We join with over 60 organisations and groups of people across the UK in writing a letter to the Prime Minister offering simple policy recommendations that would protect migrants and refugees with insecure migration statuses and people who’re experiencing homelessness.  

 

Any attempts to protect public health, do not work unless they apply to everyone living within our communities. 

 

Physical distancing and Isolation:

This is a fundamentally selfless act that everyone should be able to do to play their part in protecting their neighbourhoods and communities. It is simply not possible to do this when sleeping on the streets.

 

The government should block book hotel rooms as an emergency measure to ensure that 

  1. Everyone has the ability to self-isolate if they have symptoms
  2. Nobody recovering from Covid-19 should be discharged from hospital to go and sleep on the streets
  3. No evictions from Home Office asylum support accommodation

 

Access to healthcare

The hostile environment makes it more difficult for those with insecure migration statuses to access the health service. The sharing of patient information between healthcare institutions and the Home Office has been shown to have a disastrous effect on health. Many cases have been recorded of people avoiding going to hospitals even with significant health problems like tuberculosis as they fear being detained or deported. High costs for medical care for migrants accessing the NHS also deter access. Someone with Covid-19 symptoms cannot afford to be avoiding medical professionals.

 

The government should immediately; 

  1. Abolish all charges for access to NHS care
  2. Confirm that no patient info will be shared with the Home Office

 

Financial support for all

People are losing their jobs everyday now. The government has still not released comprehensive plans to support workers through this. Many refugees and migrants have no access to work, and are prevented from accessing any form of help from the government in a status called – no recourse to public funds. Essentially, no ability to legally work and no social support, leaving people to survive on the work of charities and community groups.

 

With charities and organisations suspending their services, the government must remove these restrictions so that people can access support in order to survive. 

  1. Immediately remove ‘no recourse to public funds’ conditions allowing access Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay and other assistance.
  2. Emergency cash available to those without bank accounts
  3. All applicants for section 95, section 4 or schedule 10 support should be automatically and appropriately accommodated within the Home Office asylum support system while applications are being processed.
  4. Any agreement for universal income or financial support for workers should be ‘universal’ and available to all – regardless of migration status.

 

Our communities are pulling together in the most beautiful ways. Although things are uncertain and scary right now, the division of the past few years has never felt further away – things have changed forever. The government’s job now should be acting with responsibility and humanity – enabling and allowing our communities to take care of each other and not continuing policies that were always harmful, but could now be even more so. This pandemic is taking no notice of our migration statuses, what official pieces of paper we possess or the wording on the stamps in our passports.

 

We sign this letter and join with charities and organisations across the UK in the hope that the government sees the common sense of these policy recommendations which both protect some of the most vulnerable people in our societies, and our entire communities.

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What is 3D Secure?

3D Secure is an added authentication step for online payments to prevent credit card fraud, by providing an additional security layer for online purchases made with credit and debit cards. 

With the intention of reducing credit card fraud, we require extra verification through 3D secure before.

3D Secure Logo

 

3D Secure verification failed! What do I do?

If the 3D Secure verification isn’t working (possibly due to a connection failure or incorrect password) please try the following steps:

      • Attempt the payment again. Make sure you are entering the correct password or SMS net code. If your bank does not support 3D Secure or you have not yet enrolled, please refer to the information below.
      • Disable your pop-up blocker for a few minutes. 3D Secure opens up in an additional window that is easily blocked by pop-up blockers.
      • If it still doesn’t work get in touch with us.

 

MasterCard SecureCode/NetCode

For 3D Secure transactions as a MasterCard user, you will either have created a SecureCode password or your bank will send you a NetCode via SMS. You have to enter either of these when prompted by the 3D Secure screen.

If you have not yet enrolled for a MasterCard SecureCode/NetCode you can do it now (if it is supported by your financial institution).

 

Verified by Visa

Visa cardholders will have to enter their predetermined security password which they have set up with their financial institution. If you have forgotten this password, you will have to reset your password. Click here to find out more about Verified by Visa.

  

Safekey by American Express

The 3D Secure program by American Express is called SafeKey. SafeKey helps reduce unauthorised online use of your credit card by validating your identity with an additional password or unique value. You can read more about this by clicking here.

If your bank does not yet participate in this 3D Secure program and you are having difficulties with your payment, then please click here to contact us.

 

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Text to donate

It has never been easier for you to donate to Choose Love / Help Refugees – you can now do so via text.

We promise we won’t send you any annoying text updates, simply follow the instruction below to donate in under 2 minutes!

 


 

UK

You can donate any amount you like via text, all you need to do is:

 

Text CHOOSELOVE 3 to 70450 to donate £3

 

Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS.

Don’t forget to add your Gift Aid information, using the link sent in the “Thank you” text.

If you’d like to give £3 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text CHOOSELOVENOINFO 3 to 70450.

Donr logo


 

US

To donate in the USA, simple text:

 

CHOOSELOVE to 41444

There is no need to include the donation amount, as you will be asked about this in the follow-up message. Simply fill in the form using the link you are sent.

MobileCause Logo

 


 

 

We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Please click through on these links if you would like to find out more about our work or make a donation. Thank you!

 

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Coronavirus knows no borders. Neither does love.

These are difficult and uncertain times for everyone, especially the most vulnerable including refugees and displaced people. 

 

Help Refugees began four and a half years ago in response to a crisis.  Flexibility and adaptability are hardwired into the way we work.  Over the past weeks, together with our amazing partners, we have been adapting the way we work to help limit the spread of Coronavirus and to keep getting vital support to those who really need it.

 

We have been setting up hand sanitizer points in overcrowded refugee camps, prioritising hygiene packs, educating about the importance of hand washing to minimise contagion, and stepping up our support to partners providing medical services.

 

Our wider work must also continue, supporting essential food, shelter, water and sanitation.  Babies still need diapers, families still need a safe place to sleep.  Imagination, invention and love mean that our partners are coming up with ingenious ways to protect the mind as well as the body, with remote psychosocial support, education and children’s entertainment already taking place.  Our partners are working in line with government policy in each country we work in.

 

The advocacy work to protect the  people who are already being denied their most basic rights is more vital than ever.  In the last days we have seen that governments can and will take decisive and even radical action when they feel it is necessary.  We continue to push for governments to step up to protect refugees who cannot self-isolate, now more than ever.

 

We know that times are tough for everyone, and that the future feels uncertain.  What is certain though, is that there is no greater power than love and community and together we can get through anything.

 

We promise that we will continue to put love into action and stand by the communities we work with.  Thank you so much for being with us every step of the way.  Your support makes a massive difference.

 

Thank you always, be safe
Choose love
Josie and the Help Refugees team

Josie Naughton CEO

 

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Help Refugees statement on Turkey abandoning its deal with the EU

Help Refugees warns of potential humanitarian catastrophe and the urgent need to act as Turkey announces it will no longer stop refugees reaching Europe. Ankara has also talked of opening its Syrian border, after 33 Turkish military reportedly killed by Assad/Russian forces.

In the last 24 hours, the Turkish government has suggested it will open its southwestern border with Syria for 72 hours to allow Syrians fleeing the pro-government forces’ assault free passage to Europe, after 33 Turkish military were reportedly killed by Assad/Russian forces. Syrian refugees are already heading to the border point.

Moreover, Turkey is no longer preventing refugees from crossing the borders of neighbouring Greece and Bulgaria, as ‘Turkey can not bear the pressure of the new refugees’. This decision effectively reverses the 2016 deal Turkey struck with the EU to cut the numbers of people entering Europe.

The Turkish coast guard has been stood down; it normally stops an average of 60% of the boats to Greece (where nonetheless over 4600 people have arrived since the start of the year). Turkish media began broadcasting footage of boats leaving this morning; two have arrived already today.

Greek officials said the country is now tightening its sea and land borders with Turkey, including stepping up the coast guard. The land border with Bulgaria at Evros has also opened and there 800 refugees are gathering.

Whether escaping daily bombardment in northern Syria, or the risk of deportation back from dire Turkish refugee camps – it’s hardly surprising that large numbers of people will now attempt this journey into Europe.

The Greek islands, where many of these refugees are headed, are not at breaking point – they are already broken.

Help Refugees Field Manager on Samos, Hannah Green said:

“Camps are painfully overcrowded and lack the most basic facilities. Moria camp on Lesvos has a capacity of 3,200 but holds almost 20,000 people, while the camp on Samos has a capacity of 648 yet is at almost 8,000 people. 60% of these are women and children. The situation is as heartbreaking as it was in 2015.”

Help Refugees partners are working right along the route from Syria: inside Idlib, through Turkey to the Greek islands and mainland Greece. We are in constant communication with them, watching the situation closely and trying to support as best we can.

We are the main funder and umbrella of the grassroots network that is the primary (and often only) response to support refugees in Greece and in particular in the islands, currently supporting 42,269 refugees on the islands alone. Almost 2,000 of this number are unaccompanied minors.

Help Refugees CEO Josie Naughton said:

“We will continue to support, but we are already witnessing a humanitarian disaster. Without urgent action, it will become a catastrophe. Greece cannot be left to deal with the world’s failure to protect refugees alone. European nations must step up to help.”

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We’re hiring! Apply to join Help Refugees as our new Communications Officer

Do you bring together excellent writing and visual design skills, with a flair for creating compelling social content?

Do you have a love of humanity that knows no borders?

Are you a team player with a can-do attitude?

You could be the one we’re looking for.

We are looking for a Communications Officer to join our small and collaborative team in London. Application deadline: 9am Monday 23rd March.

ABOUT HELP REFUGEES

In August 2015, a group of friends started using the hashtag #helpcalais to organise a van full of donations. Within a week, we had raised £56,000 and were soon receiving 7,000 items every day.

We are now one of the largest providers of grassroots humanitarian aid in Europe, and currently support over 120 projects across Europe, the Middle East and US-Mexico border.

Each of these projects is powered by ordinary people who are stepping up where governments are failing to provide even the most basic services. From those keeping rescue boats afloat, to the volunteers distributing tents and hot food, to the brave souls working under the desert sun to place water along the Mexican border.

We also support those working to build a brighter future – the teachers working to ensure refugee kids don’t miss out on an education, the therapists helping heal the invisible scars of war, and the lawyers working to unite families.

Our ‘Choose Love’ brand has been worn by Oprah, Julia Roberts, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and thousands more across the world. Our ‘buy nothing’ pop-up stores in London, New York and LA have raised more than four million and gained headlines in New York Times, The Guardian and CNN. Our founders have addressed audiences including Barack Obama, Sheryl Sandberg and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

ABOUT THE ROLE

 You’ll be responsible for:

Social media

  • Plan and create on-brand compelling content for facebook, Instagram, twitter on a daily basis; includes writing copy, using design tools to create visual content and editing short videos.
  • Ensure that comments and questions on Help Refugees’ social media are responded to swiftly, effectively and in organisational tone of voice.
  • Working with Help Refugees colleagues in Greece and France to source content about our work on the ground.
  • Support the Communications Manager on planning and delivery of exciting content around key moments such as the Choose Love stores and more.

Website

  • Creating compelling content for Help Refugees’ website, coordinating content from others, and creating joined-up user journeys across social and website.
  • Keeping website up to date.
  • Supporting development and delivery of Help Refugees’ new website.

Supporting fundraising

  • Support facebook birthday fundraisers
  • Support individual and community fundraisers on our website
  • Support online fundraising, including supporter emails and social media fundraising appeals.

Other responsibilities as necessary

  • Communications support to Help Refugees’ key moments such as the Choose Love stores, festivals and events.
  • Communications support to advocacy and campaigns.
  • Support on internal collating and storing photography, video and stories.
  • Support media on Help Refugees’ work and the refugee crisis.
  • Other ad hoc duties as required.

Essential requirements

  • Confident communicator with excellent writing skills
  • Excellent designer using tools such as in-design or photoshop; ability to create beautiful and impactful visual content
  •  Basic video editing skills
  • Experience of creating professional digital content to support engagement

Desirable

Ideally you will bring at least one of these to our work:

  • Lived experience of displacement or migration.
  • Experience working in the field of humanitarian aid, refugees or migration
  • A love of social media, particularly instagram.
  • Experience with mobile technology, online giving platforms and website design
  • Track record of using social media platforms to raise awareness, organise and/ or fundraise

ABOUT YOU

You choose love 

You are motivated by a love of humanity that knows no borders.

You are a doer 

You spot opportunities for impact and make things happen. You are comfortable working on scrappy passion projects and longer-term strategic campaigns. A good day is when you’ve done something to change the world.

You are a creative communicator 

You know the world is changed by stories and you want to be at the heart of telling them. You can communicate complex ideas with clarity, powerful stories with passion and understand how to move people.

You are curious 

You know good ideas can come from anywhere and are constantly looking at the world around you for inspiration.

You are a team player

You work best when part of a small, collaborative team. You are happy to muck in when needed and the words ‘not my job’ have never crossed your lips.

You are entrepreneurial

You think beyond the limits of your current role. You take risks, celebrate failure and never stop generating ideas.

THE DEAL 

The role will be managed by the Director of Communications and Campaigns.

It is based out of the Help Refugees office in Somerset House, London, and may involve some infrequent travel.

 The role will be offered as a permanent role with a six-month probation period, starting as soon as possible.

Salary will be in-line with other NGOs.

Help Refugees does not discriminate in employment matters on the basis of race, colour, religion, gender, age, sexuality or any other protected class. We support workplace diversity and believe it creates dynamic, relevant organisations, fostering spaces for innovation and creativity. We are working hard to increase the diversity of our team and encourage you to be a part of it.

We are committed to making our roles and culture inclusive. We can make reasonable adjustments throughout the application process and on the job. If you have particular accessibility needs, please get in touch and let us know any requirements you may have.

HOW TO APPLY 

Please apply with a cover letter (of no more than two pages) outlining your suitability for the role and a copy for your CV to jobs@helprefugees.org.

CVs without cover letters will not be considered.

Application deadline: 9am Monday 23 March.

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