About us

We are a group of volunteers who
befriend and support asylum seekers
and refugees in the Southampton area.
Find out more about how we work,
our partners and supporters.

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Get involved

There are so many ways you can help!
You can train as a visitor, organise events,
help raise money and awareness
or simply make an online donation.

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About asylum

Want to learn more about the issues?
Meet some of the asylum seekers
we’ve supported, and get the facts
about asylum seekers and refugees.

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SWVG events

SWVG usually has events throughout the year, such as fundraising opportunities, talks and workshops. Our events page lists events past and future.

All events are cancelled till further notice because of coronavirus.


The car boot sale planned for Sunday 19 April 9-12 noon at Winchester Cattlemarket has been postponed to 2021.

Are you using your time at home to declutter?  If so, please save things we could sell such as bric a brac, books, DVDs and plants.   Last time SWVG ran this event, we raised £950.   Please contact info@swvg-refugees.org.uk if you can give items for us to sell.



This moving short film North Star Fading is based on the testimonies of three Eritrean women who made the journey from Eritrea to the UK between 2006 – 2012 overland through Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya, the Mediterranean, Europe and to the UK. Two of the women were sent back to Eritrea after failed asylum cases and one of the women made the journey again and was successfully granted asylum in the UK on her second attempt.

The film stitches together illustrations to produce a ‘continuous zoom’ effect that draws audiences in to their extreme, relentless journey.


You may want to read this excellent briefing on immigration from the BBC, January 2020

Green Fingers on SWVG Allotment

At first we dug and planted. Then we got a new shed. And finally we harvested! The SWVG allotment produced over 100kg of fruit and veg in summer 2019. This included red currants and raspberries, dwarf beans, courgettes, potatoes, tomatoes, chillies, peppers, leeks, lettuces, and various squashes, including a giant 17kg pumpkin.

CALLING GARDENERS: Do you have surplus seedlings? Please give them to the SWVG allotment. We particularly welcome tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins and squash esp. butternut squash, French beans, runner beans, peas, peppers, kale, chard, spinach,
beetroot and kohlrabi. We already have seed potatoes.

Some of the produce goes to people who work on the allotment and the rest to the SWVG hostel or in food bags for asylum seekers.

RSS Stories and Analysis from Refugee Action

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a serious threat to refugees and asylum seekers. 

Asylum seekers have a very limited income of £37.50 a week, so are particularly vulnerable to food shortages and price hikes. Some have no recourse to public funds due to their immigration status, and aren’t eligible for even this government support. Some have no income for food, toiletries or other essentials like mobile credit/internet access.  If you can help, please donate to SWVG partners CLEAR  or Southampton Action.

The vast majority of refugees live in poorer countries. Many are living in overcrowded settlements that are the perfect breeding ground for the virus, and have little or no health information. UNHCR is training healthcare workers and providing hygiene supplies. They urgently need help. If you can, please give to protect vulnerable refugee families across the globe.

SWVG activities under coronavirus

SWVG has closed all face-to-face events. Our volunteers are doing all they can to support people without breaking Government instructions.

Please give

Help us to improve the lives of asylum seekers in the Southampton area and support those that are destitute. SWVG is run by volunteers; very little money is spent on overheads.


Words from someone seeking asylum

SWVG, no words are enough describe what you are to me. You're my best friend. You're my family. You gave me hope when I had no hope. You gave me strength to go on in this trying moment. All your visitors are awesome.

Sara, Client

Words from a visitor

The strength of clients is humbling: their resourcefulness, courage coming here and not being welcomed or believed. There is a sense of personal responsibility and respect and not letting each other down.

John, Visitor

Find out more

  You can read our 2020 Brochure that outlines the work SWVG has been doing over the previous year here.
For full details of our work, see our Charity Commission pages here.


SWVG invites you to add your name to these petitions.

Immediate cease-fire
Sign this AVAAZ petition backing the UN Secretary General’s call for an immediate global ceasefire, so people in war torn regions can have life-saving aid to fight coronavirus.
Increase asylum allowance
No-one should have to choose between hand sanitizer and food. Join the call by around 50 agencies for asylum allowance to be increased by £20 per week sign the petition; read their letter to the Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Allow overseas-qualified doctors to practice in the UK
Hundreds of doctors living in the UK qualified abroad are prevented from joining the NHS coronavirus response by long and expensive bureaucratic processes. Join the call to register them to practice. Sign the petition.

SWVG says “Overpriced rail fares are putting asylum seekers at risk”