Taking care of yourself during COVID-19

We know that this must be an extremely challenging time for you, our service users. As most of you are aware, we won’t be running our monthly meetings, support groups or social events during this time and our office is currently closed. However, we continue to offer legal advice, emotional and practical support via phone and email. We are looking into setting up our support groups in virtual form. Please continue to contact us through email, the group chat and the office phone.


In this time it is important you look after yourselves. Please try and:

  • Look after yourself from a practical point. Please try and make wise choices with your money. Dried or canned food, rice, fruit and vegetables would be a wiser way to spend your money than on cigarettes, alcohol or convenience food/takeaways, at the moment. They are often cheaper too. Some people have had success at buying groceries in the smaller shops or early in the morning.
  • Use the group chats to generally support one another and be positive. There have been lovely messages of hope and humour, and these are very important right now. The messages/links about where this virus came from or herbal folk remedies aren’t helpful right now. What is important is that we get through this and you are safe and looked after. There have been lovely messages of encouragement so please keep this up! Share tips, recipes, fun clips, general info and I will continue to do the same in our group chats.
  • For those that are still using saunas and hook-up apps like Grindr, please be mindful that emergency PEP clinics will only be offering a very reduced service, and may well close temporarily. Please look after yourselves and think about possible risky behaviours. 
  • Ensure that you have enough of the prescribed medicines that you normally take. 
  • Be kind, have patience and know that many others will try and do the same, too. This is a difficult time but what is becoming apparent is the generosity of community and the many people out there trying to help.
  • Be vigilant. There are also those out there looking to use this situation to their benefit.
  • Look at the links below.
  • In the groups we have spoken about parenting yourself. It may be you have to be the one who looks after you – and every one of you has the skillset to do that, you have demonstrated that when sharing and helping others in our groups.
  • Contact us if you need legal or emotional or practical support. We will do what we can. Reach out to us if you are very worried or concerned about your wellbeing – please!
  • Do some positive activities: watch comedy, ring a friend, cook or start a conversation on our group chats.

We are so proud of you all. We have seen you grow as a group and nurture one another, embrace challenges/obstacles and find solutions –  all whilst trying to navigate the asylum process.


 As we sometimes say when we do a group hug at the end of our groups:

  • You are cared for!
  • You are kind!
  • You are important!

Dane Buckley
Support Services Manager


Wellbeing/Homelessness/Destitution Services in London – Updated on 22/12/2020


Free food services

You can search for a range of services on these websites:



Please note that we have not independently checked every service listed on those sites.


The organisations below have informed us that they are continuing to run a service:

  • British Red Cross Hackney

Food, showers, emergency provisions

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30am-2:30pm


  • Hackney Destitution Resource Centre

92 Dalston Lane


E8 1NG

0207 254 0928


  • American Church

Free hot meals – Takeaway only

10am–12am Daily

79a Tottenham Court Rd, (Entrance in Whitfield Street),

London W1T 4TD

020 7580 2791


  • Barons Court Project

Food, clothing and showers for rough sleepers in Hammersmith and Fulham

Call ahead to make sure services are still open.

8:30am-6pm by appointment only

69 Talgarth Rd

London W14 9DD

020 7603 5232


  • St Paul’s Church/ North London Action for the Homeless

Free food – Takeaway only

Monday 12-1pm

Wednesday 6-7pm

Stoke Newington Road

N16 7UE


  • House of Rainbow

The church provides weekly supplies of free food. No referral letter, no means-testing. All welcome. LGBTQI+ friendly. They also offer general support for LGBTQI+ asylum seekers.

Thursday from 2-3:15.

St Margaret’s church E11 3NG


  • Croydon Night Watch

Hot drinks, food, clothes

9.30pm Daily

Queens Gardens, by Fell Road



  • Ealing Soup Kitchen

A hot meal, music & more

Mondays 7-9pm

Salvation Army Hall, 6 Leeland Road, W13 9HH


  • The Hub. Refreshments, showers, advocacy & hairdresser

Fridays 1pm – 3:30pm

The Crypt, St Johns, W13 9LA


  • Ealing Soup Kitchen – a hot meal and fellowship

Saturdays and Sundays 3:30 – 5pm

St John’s Church Room, St John’s, W13 9LA


  • Notre Dame de France

Sandwiches – Takeaway only

Saturdays 10.30-14.30

Maison Pierre Chanel, Parish Centre, 16 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NH


  • St Patrick’s Open House

Indoor Evening Meal

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

Places are limited and entry is by advance ticket only.

Tickets are available on Mondays at 1:30pm from the Sutton Row entrance.


  • Breakfast Club, Outdoor Takeaway

Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays 9am

21A Soho Square, Soho, London W1D 4NR


  • Akwaaba

     Hot meals – takeaway only

     Sundays 12-2pm

     St Mary’s Secret Garden, 50 Pearson St, E2 8EL


Wellbeing phone numbers & links

  • Switchboard (LGBT)

Someone to talk to from 10:00am to 10:00pm via phone, email or instant messenger.

0300 330 0630 (they will call you back if you don’t have enough credit, and are happy to do so).


www.switchboard.lgbt (for instant chat)


  • Samaritans (Not religious in any way, this is just their name)

Someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Free to call.

116 123


  • Mindout (LGBT)

Online instant message support that is non-judgemental and confidential. Open most evenings from 5:30-7:30 and on Sunday 2:00-4:00.



  • Anxiety UK

Some articles, links and videos around coron-anxiety, being kind to yourself and dealing with uncertainty. 



  • Papyrus

Provide confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person

0800 068 4141



Emergency sexual health services

  • 56 Dean Street, Soho

HIV and sexual health NHS clinic in the heart of Soho. They are currently running a reduced service, please call before booking an appointment. Prep/Pep services are still running. Self-testing kits can be ordered online.

0203 315 5656


Self-testing kits: www.deanstreet.shl.uk.


Mutual aid groups

  • Covid mutual aid groups

A number of mutual aid groups have formed across the country in local areas. The groups aim to provide community support to those who are more at risk from the virus: be it help with running errands or cooking. Be aware that many of them run via Facebook and ask you to join the group; you may not want to share your profile with people in your local area.



  • London COVID-19 Mutual Aid, UK Migrant and Asylum Seeker Support

Seb who is the director of Ice and Fire has set this up.


  • London COVID-19 LGBTQ+ Mutual Aid Group

Set up by the Outside Project:



The following services are CLOSED for the foreseeable future:

  • Hackney Migrant Centre (only the Drop-in)
  • Haringey Migrant Support Centre (only the Drop-in)
  • London Jesus Centre Homelessness Drop In
  • Refugee Council- all destitution and face to face services


The following services have reopened:

  • Notre Dame Refugee Centre (Mondays & Thursdays 8:30am)
  • Birmingham LGBT Centre (please check https://blgbt.org/ for opening times)