Who we help

The Notre Dame Refugee Centre assists refugees and asylum seekers who are in the UK seeking protection or who need other immigration advice.

We help asylum seekers throughout the asylum process:

  •     Before they have lodged an asylum claim with
        the Home Office

  •     After they have lodged a claim, while they are
        awaiting a decision.

  •     After their claim has been decided, and
        whether or not they have been recognized by
        the Home Office as refugees.

  •     If recognized as Refugees, assisting with Family
        Reunion applications

We also help other non-EU migrants to the UK, who have not claimed asylum, but are seeking or have sought leave to remain under human rights legislation, usually through having established a private or family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Non-EU family members of EU citizen’s resident in the UK, can also receive assistance from us to regularise their stay or bring other family members to the UK.


What we offer

Some case studies

       A refugee client from horn of Africa fled across land to Europe. He ended up in the UK where he was granted asylum. He'd left his 7 year old daughter with a friend in Khartoum, Sudan as he had not wanted her to risk the arduous journey.  Once asylum was granted we applied for his daughter to join her father in the UK through Family Reunion. The Home Office refused her entry clearance on the grounds that the father "had essentially abandoned his daughter" therefore the family life element necessary for such an application did not exist. We reapplied a second time addressing this point and it was again refused. We then appealed the decision and the appeal was successful. We referred our client to the Red Cross for assistance to cover the flight costs. Our clients daughter arrived in the UK one month later.

          X has been our client since March 2015; she arrived in the UK in 2013, her asylum application was refused; she has no outstanding submissions, but continues to believe she would be in danger if she returned to DR Congo. In 2015 she was 5 months pregnant, and destitute, staying with friends. We referred her to Great Chapel Street Medical Centre and applied for asylum support which was granted 4 months later. The client gave birth and was finally accommodated with her son in December 2015.

‘         "Notre Dame Refugee Centre is the place that helped me when I came back from detention. Everything was down for me and I didn’t know where I would go. Everything I have comes from NDRC. They did everything for me : found me a GP,  and a Counsellor and an English teacher. Now I’m not scared of anything and I don’t need an interpreter. I can talk for myself. I get my medication regularly. All this is because of NDRC. I am very happy and proud of you people."

Joseph, May 2015

We are able to represent clients at the Immigration  tribunal where there is merit in their case and legal aid is not available. Advice on Welfare Benefits, housing and employment is also offered, as well as ESOL and counselling. All of our services are provided free of charge to anyone who is destitute or has a low-income threshold.

 Centre services and activities are available to all those who qualify for registration as a Centre visitor.

Drop In advice sessions are held on Mondays and Thursdays. These operate on a first come first served basis.

Our advice line offers free one-off advice to individual migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and to any organisations working with them. We do not offer advice on PBS or Visit Visas.


We run a Drop-In Service on Mondays and Thursdays, Doors open at 08:30am Advisers see clients on a strictly first come first served basis.

  • Prepare and submit Human Right Applications

  • Assist refugees with Family Reunion

  • Assist with further leave applications

  • Representations at the Immigration Tribunal

  • Advice on making an asylum claim/referrals to asylum solicitors

  • EEA residence documents for non EEA family members

  • Naturalisation and Registration for British Citizenship

Telephone Advice line on Fridays only : 020 7440 2669 Advice for immigration, asylum seekers and migrants (we do not offer advice on PBS or visit visas)

  • Welfare benefits

  • Housing

  • Debt and managing money

  • Administrative problems

  • Help with translations,

  • Help with filling in forms


Individual counselling is available on Mondays and Thursdays on a first come first served basis.

  • On Mondays from 1-4 pm, we run a drop-in clinic with a qualified volunteer nurse or health professional. . The health team listen and advise, they can also assist with access to services such as GP registration or help to fill in HC1 form ( claim for help with health costs).

  • We offer an all day service, including a warm midday meal twice-weekly at our Drop-In Café. Much of the food is donated by local businesses such as Pret a Manger, Gail’s and Paul’s Bakeries, Tua Pasta and Nando’s.

  • We offer good quality used clothing and toiletries.

  • We contribute to travel costs to the Centre for those without any means


We run the following classes. Prior registration at the Centre and a language assessment is required for each one. All the classes are free.


  • Basic English (Entry) on Mondays from 11am to 1pm on a termly basis. This is for those who are already literate in the Roman alphabet.

  • Basic English (Literacy)  on Mondays from 11am to 12 midday. This is for those who are not already literate in the Roman alphabet.

  • Intermediate English on Thursdays from 11am-1pm on a termly basis. This is open to all intermediate level English speakers who are interested in preparing for work and not just those who are already entitled to work.

English language assessment is also available on an individual basis followed by signposting or referral to an appropriate external class. We work in partnership with the Jesus Centre, Mary Ward Centre and others.

Read more about ESOL at NDRC


We have two computers permanently in our Drop-In café, so that visitors can check their emails.


The Job Club takes place on Thursdays.

  • Intermediate English runs from 11am – 1pm (see details above). 

  • Individual employment support is available on a drop-in basis from 1.30 – 3.30pm. The support includes assistance with writing a CV, job searches and filling in job applications.

  • The Art Group meets on Mondays from 1.30 – 3.30pm.

  • The Theatre Group meets on Thursdays from 1.30 – 3pm.


We hope to provide a social space and a sense of community in our Centre. We have live music performances in our cafe several times a year generously provided by Live Music Now.


Our Christmas party attracts over 100 guests for food and celebration.


Every year we organise a summer outing so that families, particularly those with young children, can see places that they would not normally visit. In recent years we’ve been to Greenwich, Brighton, the paralympic games, Tottenham Hotspurs football club, the Natural History Museum ; with a picnic and games in a local park following the visit.

Notre Dame Refugee Centre
5 Leicester Place London WC2H 7BX
T. 020 7440 2668

Advice line: 0207 440 2669  (Friday)

Registered charity no. 1177990

OISC No. N201800023