Covid-19 has brought challenges to all of us in the community. Whilst at the Streatham Drop In Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees we were able to move quickly to deliver many of our services remotely, in the absence of being able to meet face to face, sadly we were unable to deliver our normal programme of activities for children over the summer. 

Lack of play and communication, known as "under-stimulation", can have long-term negative consequences on a child's learning and physical and mental health. Many of these children come from families living in destitution with No Recourse to Public Funds, that can’t afford proper clothing let alone toys and books. 

In response, we set up a fundraiser with the aim of raising £35 for each of the 150 children we support. 

Brian McCarthy, Centre Coordinator, said: “We were overwhelmed by the response from our supporters. Thanks to their generosity, and additional match funding from Lambeth Council, we were not only able to meet our initial target, but also our stretch target of £7000. We know it is a difficult time for many, and we are really grateful to everyone that has supported this campaign, either by sharing the link or donating directly. 

“The initial fundraising amount of £5,250 will be spent on toys, games and books for the children of each of the families we support, and the additional £1,805 will go directly towards funding the Centre’s activities, services and responding to COVID-19. At the Centre, we continue to provide services to our users remotely, and are looking now at ensuring we have the right plans in place to be able to open physically again, when it is safe to do so.”


The Streatham Drop In Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees has launched an online fundraiser, to provide toys and games for children missing out on a programme of activities planned this summer.

The Centre is an independent grassroots Lambeth charity, which has supported the community for nearly twenty years’, providing services for asylum-seeking and refugee families who often experience disadvantage, poverty and exclusion.

Many of these families are subject to the government’s condition of No Recourse to Public Funds and as a result, struggle to pay for healthy meals and weather-appropriate clothing, let alone toys, games and books for leisure.

Last year over 150 children participated in the Centre’s summer and spring play activities, such as Homework Club, activities in parks, craft-making and visits to the beach.

“Just wanted to say thank you for the enormous effort on my children’s life. [My daughter] got one of the highest results in the school SATs. I am so happy and proud of this amazing centre for the support and consistency all this year,” said one parent.

“At homework club I enjoyed going to the historical museum because nobody was inactive and we all danced beautifully on stage! I also liked when we dressed up in our marvellous clothes. We all brought healthy packed lunches. I also loved when we went to the cinema and watched an awesome movie called Star Wars. The last thing I enjoyed was flying kites because it was fascinating,” said a Year Two child.

Unfortunately, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the Centre has been unable to offer a schedule of learn and play activities for spring and summer 2020.

Brian McCarthy, the Centre’s Coordinator said, “We have adapted to the pandemic and continued to work with our partner organisations to ensure that people are able to access support and services - albeit for from a safe distance. We are supporting more vulnerable members of the community and families experiencing exceptional poverty than ever before.

“By working with partner organisations, assess to food has been strengthened, health and welfare advice provided, and we have begun to distribute technology required to address the digital divide.”

“We are aware of the huge impact current conditions have on children from families living in destitution. We have set up this fundraiser to purchase toys, games, books and other resources for children who have limited access to play and educational activities over the summer months.”

The Centre is aiming to raise £35 for each child it supports. To donate, visit; https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/streathamdropincentre

As part of the UN’s official World Inter Faith Harmony Week, Faiths Together in Lambeth and the Streatham Drop-In Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees are hosting an Interfaith Harmony Breakfast on Thursday 7 February.

Between 9:00 and 11:00, people from all religions, faiths and backgrounds can drop in to the Centre at 2 Mitcham Lane, Streatham, to enjoy a delicious traditional Eritrean breakfast, learn more about the Centre’s services and meet new people from all walks of life.

Brian McCarthy, the Centre’s coordinator, said: “We are delighted to host this fantastic event again, which encourages people from all religions and faiths to join together, and of course enjoy some wonderful food. Our previous event in 2017 was a great success, with over 60 people attending, so we hope we will be able to host just as many, if not more, local people.

“It’s also a great opportunity for us to share news about the centre, including what we delivered in 2018 and our plans for 2019, so do come along if you want to find out more.”

Both charities were selected in 2016 by the then Mayor of Lambeth, Cllr Saleha Jaffer, as her Mayor’s Charities.

Faiths Together in Lambeth (FTiL) was established in 2008 as an independent, borough-wide body, to foster constructive relationships among faith communities and to promote faith and multi-faith involvement in civic life.

Since 2008 FTiL has organised a programme of events each year to bring together people of different faith backgrounds. Regular events include the interfaith harmony breakfast in February, the stall at Lambeth Country Show in July, the interfaith walk in September and the Interfaith Week event in November. There are also involvements with Lambeth Council, Lambeth Police, and various health and care agencies.

The event is free to attend and there is no need to book, just drop in to the Centre at 2 Mitcham Lane between 9 – 11AM on 7 February.

The Streatham Drop In Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees is gearing up for 2019, having assisting over 450 people in the local community during 2018.

The Centre, often the first community resource used by vulnerable children and families in the area, offers various services for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the local area.

As well as general advice and information, health advice, food bank vouchers, English lessons and a women’s wellbeing project, the centre also offers a creche service, homework club and various events throughout the year for children and young people.

Brian McCarthy, the Centre’s Coordinator, said: “Addressing abject poverty in response to expressed need has become an increasingly significant area of our work.  By delivering advice services and signposting, distributing foodbank vouchers and providing a safe space for our users, the Centre has provided vital support to a rapidly rising number of people who are destitute and require essential living needs.

 “We are extremely thankful to all our donors, staff and volunteers who enable us to provide this essential service to individuals and families who are in great need. Our vision is a community in which all asylum seekers and refugees are welcomed, valued and able to participate fully in society and with much appreciated support we will continue to strive to achieve this.”

General advice and information at the Centre is provided by qualified staff and trained volunteers with relevant experience in welfare, housing and consumer rights. Specialist healthcare services are available and the Centre’s Women’s Wellbeing Project delivers a range of wellbeing activities where participants gain confidence while acquiring new skills, as well as recently introducing massage relaxation techniques.

The Centre’s volunteer-led English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is provides much-needed extra support for language learners, and family learning sessions empower parents to participate more actively in their children’s educational life.

Some of the activities for young people during 2018 include visits to Streatham Community Garden, a day at the seaside, visiting libraries and museums and making kites on Streatham Common, and the always popular Saturday Homework club aims to develop children’s literacy and numeracy skills.

“Our programme of educational, community and fun activities is devised with children and families in mind,” Brian continued. “Many of our users have families and we understand the importance of ensuring children are able to enjoy their childhood and develop with the same opportunities as other children their age. Last year we delivered an even more ambitious programme, including hosting events in conjunction with Streatham’s food and film festivals, and we look forward to stepping it up a gear again 2019.”

The Streatham Drop-in Centre is a registered charity and relies on grants, donations and fundraising events to provide much needed support.

It is extremely grateful for grants from Trust for London, Walcot Foundation, BBC Children In Need, London Churches Refugee Fund, The Hilden Charitable Fund, Thrale Almhouse and Relief in Need Charity, Trust for London and would also like to thank local faith communities English Martyrs Church, St Peters Church, Clapham Methodist Church and Faith Together in Lambeth for their donations and support.

The Centre is holding an Interfaith Harmony Breakfast, open to the public, on 7th February 2019 in conjunction with Faith Together in Lambeth. More details can be found here: [add link to press release].

If you would like to donate, volunteer or find out more about the services offered please visit: http://streathamdropin.org.uk/ or follow us on Twitter @DropInStreatham



On Friday 22 June the Streatham Drop-in Centre is hosting a food-filled fundraiser as part of the Streatham Food Festival.

A selection of Eritrean, Ethiopian and world cuisine, with both vegetarian and meat options, will be on offer and the money raised from donations will go towards activities for children over the summer.

The centre, which has been open for 16 years, provides a range of practical needs-led services and activities for asylum seekers and refugees in the Streatham area.  Their services include drop in sessions offering general, health and legal advice, English language classes and a homework club for children on Saturday mornings. This Saturday [02 June] they took a group of young people to Streatham Community Centre Garden to learn about nature and plant their own flowers.

This will be the fourth year the centre has held the World Cuisine event in order to raise money for the charity.

Brian McCarthy, the centre’s coordinator said: “We’re really excited to host this event again this year. Last year we hosted over 70 people, and the funds raised paid for a children’s trip to the seaside.

“The food is always incredible and it’s great to see both people who use our service getting involved and sharing their cultures, as well as people completely new to the service just coming to find out more about what we do here.

“Our vision is a community in which all asylum seekers and refugees are welcomed, valued and able to participate fully in society. All are welcome, and people are able to walk in on the night.”

The event starts at 7pm on 22 June, at the Streatham Drop-in Centre, on 2 Mitcham Lane (next door to English Martyrs Church).

For all the latest Streatham Drop-in Centre news, follow us on Twitter @dropinstreatham or visit www.streathamdropin.org.uk



As part of our vision to enable asylum seekers and refugees to feel welcomed, valued and able to participate fully in society, this summer we are hoping to send a group of around 40 refugee children and their families on a day trip to the seaside at West Wittering beach near Portsmouth. We are hoping to raise £2000 to hire transport for the day and have a picnic...

You can donate here. https://mydonate.bt.com/events/childrefugeestoseaside


On Friday 23rd June, as part of the Streatham Food Festival, we'll be hosting a special fundraising event offering a selection of delicious Eritrean, Ethiopian and world food.

Last year this successful event raised funds for a children’s trip to the seaside. Come along, help raise funds for disadvantaged children and learn about the work of the charity.

Suggested Donation £10

To book email dropin@emchurch.plus.com or simply walk in on the night.

Streatham Drop-In Centre Streatham

2 Mitcham Lane (next door to English Martyrs Church)

SW16 6NN

Friday 23rd June at 7pm.

We're hosting another World Cuisine Fundraiser!


Thursday 16 June 2016 @7.00pm

Streatham Stables (The White Lion)

232 Streatham High Road, SW16 1BB

Please join for an evening of delicious Eritrean, Ethiopian and world cuisine.

This unique fundraising meal, will include a wide variety of traditional vegetarian & meat dishes from around the world, specially prepared for Streatham Food Festival.

Come along to try tasty food, learn more our work and raise funds towards refugee children and family activities.

 Suggested donation - £10 per adult

Families welcome

Reservations information: dropin@emchurch.plus.com

Alternatively feel free to turn up on the night