RRSG was formed in 1994 at a refugee conference organised jointly by Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC), Oxfam and Churches Together in Berkshire. This conference was a response to the civil wars and oppression in Kosovo, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Sudan and the large numbers of refugees coming to Reading. The area of greater Reading has a history of providing sanctuary to displaced people since the Second World War.
Reading Refugee Support Group is a registered charity that provides legal and practical advice and support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees who reside in the Reading. We also work with refugees (who have acquired status in the UK) to support their integration into local communities, e.g. through English language courses, projects in schools and other activities. We are the only provider of accredited support for asylum seekers in Reading and West Berkshire; therefore our service is unique and constantly in demand.
Our vision is for inclusive communities where refugees and asylum seekers of diverse cultural backgrounds are treated with respect; where their essential needs are met; and where they are enabled to play a valuable role within the wider community.
We strive to achieve these aims by:
a) Providing a weekly drop-in service, plus appointments for urgent advice and support;
b) We try to prevent destitution and also help our clients apply for small grants to enable them to buy important items such as key household goods and school uniforms;
c) We support the integration of the children of our clients and promote the importance of education through running a homework club in partnership with Abbey School;
d) We provide broader support through summer activity clubs for children, as parents cannot afford enriching activities such as these.