North East Social Action Directory

Below is the information of organisations working on social justice issues in the North East:

Justice and Peace Refugee Project, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The Justice and Peace Refugee Project offers a warm welcome and provides basic support for those seeking asylum and refuge within their local Newcastle community. The organisation runs a drop in centre on Wednesdays and Fridays between 11.00am and 2.00pm, during which time they give out food, toiletries, clothing and footwear. To find out more, visit their website.

South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice is a charity based in Sheffield that provides a free service to those seeking asylum who require support with their asylum claims but are unable to get a solicitor. As part of this service, the organisation provides legal advice regarding asylum claims, assists with researching the country a person has fled from in order to explain and evidence why they cannot return, and helps acquire evidence that service users may need to support their new asylum claims. Volunteers with South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice can be involved in a number of roles including admin, fundraising and legal case work. They also work with universities to provide placements for law students. To find out more, visit their website.

South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

SYMAAG is a campaign group made up of volunteers from all over the world. They campaign across South Yorkshire on issues related to migrant and asylum rights. This has included campaigns on issues such as: asylum tenants’ rights; against immigration detention centres; the right to work for those seeking asylum; for migrants and those seeking asylum to have equal access to health care and education; and against the deportation and abuse of those seeking asylum. As an organisation SYMAAG also actively seek to educate themselves about asylum and migrants rights, about people’s countries of origin, and why some people are forced to flee them, along with working with MPs and Councillors to ensure they honour commitments they have made with regards to migrant and asylum rights. SYMAAG are always open to new members joining and those who share their aims and values are welcome to come to one of their fortnightly meetings (held on Zoom) to find out more about the latest work SYMAAG are carrying out. To find out more, visit their website.

ASSIST, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

ASSIST support those who have had their asylum claim rejected and have become destitute by providing them with access to accommodation and a small weekly welfare payment if they have no other source of income. ASSIST run a weekly Help Desk through which they make referrals to their emergency accommodation, issue emergency payments and food vouchers, and direct clients to food banks, clothing banks and sources of medical help. They likewise signpost to places where those who are seeking asylum can spend their time, meet other people, learn English and more. The aim is to work with those seeking asylum or challenging their asylum decision, so that they can become part of the Sheffield community, overcome isolation and improve their situation and well-being. ASSIST also provide longer term assistance by working with clients to pursue their asylum claim through the organisation’s support service. Aside from this, ASSIST work to promote the voices and needs of those seeking asylum, both through campaigns and by running events; giving talks; running stalls at local fairs and festivals; and working in partnership with other local organisations. ASSIST have a number of volunteer opportunities, both working directly with those seeking asylum (such as accompanying them to their appointments with the Home Office) or by offering more behind the scenes support (such as helping with the admin or finance). ASSIST are likewise looking for people who can support their campaign work and are keen for people to help push their campaigns through their community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, trade unions, activist groups, faith communities, student societies, and sports clubs. To find out more, visit their website.

Open Door North East, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Open Door North East (ODNE) is an award winning charity working with refugees and those seeking asylum in the Tees Valley. ODNE’s ambition is to alleviate and eliminate the devastating and complex effects of destitution and homelessness experienced by those seeking asylum, refugees and other migrants in the Tees Valley. Their vision statement is ‘Hope, Justice, Mercy and Dignity for those seeking sanctuary’. The values they seek to exhibit are hospitality, compassion, working together, dignity, excellence and inclusivity as they focus on a mission, ‘supporting those seeking sanctuary to move out of poverty and destitution and be empowered to achieve their full potential’. ODNE would not be able to function in the way that it does without the incredible input of so many volunteers and there are a number of ways in which you can volunteer with ODNE. To find out more, visit their website.

Rainbow Junk-tion, Poverty

Rainbow Junk-tion is an independent Pay-As-You-Feel community café housed in All Hallows’ Church in Leeds. Using food from supermarkets and restaurants that would otherwise go to waste, the café creates healthy and nutritious meals for  anyone on a pay-as-you-feel basis. With this ethos in mind, Rainbow Junk-tion has three core aims, which are: to reduce food waste by intercepting food that would otherwise be thrown away; to reduce food poverty without taking away people’s pride by providing a pay-as-you-feel service; and to help build community, by bringing people from all walks of life together around a table of food and in the kitchen, thereby contributing to building a better community where everyone can trust and support each other. Rainbow Junk-tion relies on volunteers in order to be able to operate and are always eager to hear from those who would like to get involved. As a volunteer, you can get involved in the following activities: helping to come up with the menu based on ingredients sourced; helping to cook or prep food in the kitchen; acting as a server in the café or shop; helping to collect intercepted food from different points around the city; sorting through and organising donated food; distributing leaflets, posters or helping promote the café; assisting with the website and social media pages; or helping to keep the café clean and tidy. In return, volunteers have the opportunity to gain their food hygiene qualifications. To find out more, visit their website.

Food Durham, Environment  

Food Durham’s mission is to create a food system that is healthier, greener and fairer, where every household has access to ‘good food’ – food that is safe, nutritious, of good quality and environmentally sustainable. Food Durham is very much a team effort: anyone with an interest in food has a part to play whether that is through creating a community veg garden or developing a sustainable local food procurement policy for a big organisation. You can get involved and support the work of Food Durham, either by organising your own project or by volunteering at the community garden.

Bind, Environment

Bind is Newcastle’s not-for-profit food waste hub that believes in positive, creative approaches to reduce food waste and drive behaviour change. Their work focuses on changing public attitudes, education, local policy and collaborating with local private, public and third sector organisations to deliver consistent, effective projects to reduce food waste. They currently have three main projects. First is the Magic Hat Café, which aims to divert good food from landfill, and raise awareness on food waste by ‘upcycling’ surplus food to feed the community. The second is Eat Smart, an educational programme which looks at food waste created on a primary school site, and helps the children to understand the importance of reducing food waste from a young age. The third is NE Leftovers which helps small food businesses take control of their food waste. Bind are always looking for new volunteers who are interested in any of the three projects they currently run. To find out more, visit their website.

Sheildfield Art Works, Community Support

Shieldfield Art Works (or ‘SAW’) is an arts organisation and operates on the intersection of contemporary art, theological reflection and community activism. As both an arts space and a project of the Methodist Church, they are committed to understanding how these three spheres can speak, interact and learn from each other. SAW believes art and creativity are integral parts of human life, and with art’s unique ability to articulate, question and enquire, we can enact positive change in our communities and the world. Shieldfield Art Work’s broad programme includes developing high quality art exhibitions, events, workshops, conferences and publications. Although they support all forms of art making and development, Socially Engaged Art is integral to their practice as an organisation, and is often used to discuss, question and give voice to local and global issues. They have a longstanding commitment to the community of Shieldfield, an area which has undergone rapid urban development. They also support emerging artists by providing opportunities for development, curatorial support and exhibition opportunities. SAW works with people of all faiths and none – artists, schools, universities, community members, charities, churches, community groups, artistic collectives and other partners, and gladly welcome people of all backgrounds to participate in their programme. To contact SAW directly to discuss opportunities to be involved click here, or to find out more about events you could get involved in visit their event pages here.

The People's Kitchen, Homelessness

The People’s Kitchen supports homeless and vulnerable people and helps to fight hunger and loneliness for locals in need. The People’s Kitchen helps make life on the streets a little easier by sharing hot meals and packages of clothing, toiletries, food, mobile phones and sleeping bags. They also work with services to enable people to move off the streets and provide food, furniture and bedding when they move into their first home. Moreover, they offer friendship and professional services to improve mental wellbeing. The People’s Kitchen is proudly run entirely by volunteers, and the kindness of volunteers is essential to keeping their doors open. To find out more, visit their website.

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Animal Welfare
Politics and Economics
Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Peace and Pacifism
North East Organisations
Education & Youth
International Development
Marginalised Groups
Mental Wellbeing