The Refugee Café

The Refugee Café is a charity that aims at paving the way to employment for people granted asylum in Lewisham by creating delicious international food. Have a read below to find out more about the important and impactful work of this charity and the ways in which you can help them.

You can visit the Refugee Café pop-up stall at Catford Mews every Thursday and Saturday.

Refugee Café takes pride in providing refugees with the tools they need to gain meaningful employment.

Asylum seekers can wait years to gain refugee status in the UK. During this time they are unable to work and receive help with housing and living costs. When a person is given refugee status in the UK, they’re given a month to find employment and housing. Many refugees are isolated from the local community and do not have access to the resources that most of us take for granted. Unemployment is four times higher for this vulnerable group, and Lewisham especially has a high unemployment rate. At this stage, many refugees can sadly become homeless.

At Refugee Café we give refugees the skills, community and encouragement they need to re-build their lives. We help them overcome barriers; offering work experience, English lessons, social networks and a knowledge of the UK job market.

Beyond employment, we connect refugees and asylum seekers to the local community, through friendship and food. We regularly host events, including our Community Dinners, live online cook-alongs, art workshops and more. You can also visit our market stalls or website, where you can buy Syrian pickles, hummus, Syrian brioches, Syrian chilli paste, Ecuadorian chimichurri – all cooked by our fantastic team of refugee chefs.

Our aim is to have a permanent venue to exhibit our wonderful chefs’ cooking talents. Would you know of a free kitchen space to start us off?


Want to find out more about Refugee Café? Visit, or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.


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Living Wage Employer Planning Awards 2020 - Winner