Group Activities: a source of nourishment and care

With cuts to legal aid, a huge rise in refugee homelessness alongside a growing backdrop of hostility, migrants and refugees are facing increased destitution, poor mental health and isolation.

As we challenge these unjust systems through organising and campaigning, we must also provide direct support. The Migrants Organise Community Programme supports around 600 individuals and their families per year with a  combination of advice, advocacy, training, mentoring and holistic group activities. 

Every week we run a series of activities geared towards learning new skills, creating friendships and sharing experiences.  

The joy of sharing space with our community is a reminder of the better world we are building together.  Here are just a few that we offered in 2023 and will be running again in 2024: 


Each week in various green locations our members  connect through exercise and enjoy hot drink and lunch. For some members, coming to the walk is their only social activity of the week. 

One member said: ´I really like meeting you guys every week. My kids are a lot of work. I stay home all the time cleaning, also looking after them. This meeting is the only thing I do for myself. It always makes me happy. ´


This is a very popular activity where members learn about history and current affairs while practising their reading and language skills whilst and sharing constructive feedback to each other. It makes for a lively and fun discussion.  


The Friday Football group is going from strength to strength – even in the freezing cold! 

The team is now registered to participate in the 5 a side football league. Watch this space! 


Playing games together is a way of creating friendships even when we speak different languages or don’t feel like talking. A lot of our members attend ‘Games and Activities’ as it’s a chance to have fun and switch off. 


Storytelling is a powerful way to express ourselves and speak out. The session is a safe and welcoming space for members to explore creativity and public speaking.

Members have created their own stories and developed their storytelling skills over the weeks with themes including:  hope, politics, leadership, and life lessons. They have also  recorded themselves to measure their progress. 


The movement session is led by our member Thiru – our members constantly shape out work and volunteer to lead activities. Thiru gets the group moving with some great music! He warmly welcomes members and encourages them to express their emotions and feelings through movement and dancing.

One member said: ´This is really good. I feel free and happy. I forget

all problems. And a very good workout to stay healthy. ´ 


Most of our members did not have any art and craft experience before joining the group. Our volunteer Mish has encouraged everyone to use their imagination without the fear of being judged. There is always fun music and interesting conversation in the group too. 

What members say: ´When I first met Mish, I told him I´m not interested in drawing! Now, when I look back, I find out how much I´ve changed! I was homesick, often was crying for my family in Iran. But now I can say I feel better and try to build a new life full of love, happiness and respect to my friends and community. Thank you Migrants Organise and thank you Mish.´ 

´When I am in this group I forget everything with the colours and music. I release my negative energy. Thank you for your efforts.´


This is a wonderful weekly session to watch a new film. It’s a brilliant opportunity to explore new genres, practise English and share ideas and opinions. 

It also shows that running weekly activities does not always require a lot of planning- we can use lots of resources that are already available, but coming to watch together is key to creating a strong group. 


A wonderful group of Migrants Organise members took on the challenge of looking after our small city garden  in front of our office and next to a busy road. The results were beautiful and delicious- from sunflowers, tomatoes, aubergines, potatoes beetroots to name a few. The group have shared the produce with members and cooked for each other at organising and dinner nights. Thank you! 


Our English classes are the backbone of our activities and provide a free, supporting space for people to begin their journey to learn English. 

For some members this is the only chance they have to learn, whilst some others might already be studying at college and want a little extra support. A couple of students in this group have stronger language skills and are very encouraging other members. 

Our teachers choose a different topic every week. For example, when it started getting colder, the group learned how to ask staff members from the Asylum Support hotels to turn on the heater or provide a portable heater. These practical language skills are incredibly important for all of our members. 


This is a small yet studious group who meet in our shared library space. They often begin by choosing a library book as a prompt. Some members attending the group were writers or poets in their country of origin, and happily share their tips and experience with other members.


The sewing group is a longstanding activity and the items made from the activities are often shared at various Migrants Organise events. It is a very dedicated and meticulous group. So far, every member has made a handbag and a skirt. The group is very proud of their creations and used them as gifts for Christmas. 


The Women’s Group is a supportive and safe listening space for Migrants Organise women. This is a monthly gathering and we organise childcare so that women can relax during the sessions. The group come together to support each other to share experiences, speak out and build their power. 


Our activities would not be complete without our members Organising Group- a weekly session to share experiences and issues and to identify ways to take collective action. This group has led to a ‘Housing Campaign Group’ which organised peer support for members living in challenging conditions as well as taking direct action against the companies that are profiting from providing poor housing for people in the asylum system. 


Our activities are largely run by volunteers and activity leaders. Every year we work with over a 100 volunteers who provide support in our office and in the community. A huge thank you to their solidarity. 

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