Edinburgh

Edinburgh Weekend Club

The “Edinburgh Weekend Club” is a new joint-faith initiative run by Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees. With the aim of enabling New Scots to become active members of society through the building of strong social relationships, as well as combating social isolation experienced particularly over the weekend, a joint-faith group of volunteers organises monthly weekend events. Participants have the opportunity to build friendships, improve their English in a relaxed and welcoming environment, as well as learn more about Scottish culture and history.

Past events have included a Burns Night and Ceilidh and a visit to Edinburgh Castle. All gatherings and events are only possible through the generous help of our local Edinburgh community. If your local faith community would like to contribute to such an event in future or if you would like to find out more please get in touch with Sabine Chalmers schalmers@churchofscotland.org.uk. You might want to offer us a venue space or even make a financial contribution towards this project of welcome.


City of Sanctuary Edinburgh

The UK-wide City of Sanctuary network aims to grow a culture of welcome for people seeking sanctuary in cities across the UK.

A group has been set up in Edinburgh to help connect the many threads of activity already happening in in the city to welcome asylum seekers and refugees, and to widen the scope of this welcome to include all areas of life in Edinburgh.

If you would like more information contact City of Sanctuary Edinburgh through the Facebook group.


City of Edinburgh Council – Refugee Resettlement

The City of Edinburgh Council has published a webpage of information about Syrian refugee resettlement in the city and how local residents can support their welcome and integration.  They recommend people support The Welcoming Association, Saheliya, Fresh Start, the Edinburgh Clothing Store and local food banks.


New Scots Culture Jams and Exploring Edinburgh

New Scots Culture Jams is a new Edinburgh-based integration project celebrating the arts, sciences, crafts, music and stories of New Scots, including refugee and migrant communities in Scotland. For more information visit their website.

Exploring Edinburgh is a local integration project run by St. Paul’s and St. George’s Church. Like the Edinburgh Weekend Club, it creates a fun and welcoming environment for refugees in Edinburgh enabling the building and deepening of friendships. If you are a refugee and would like to attend these events please ask for Wendy on the Church homepage or contact schalmers@churchofscotland.org.uk who will pass on your details.


Edinburgh Inter Faith Association

Edinburgh Inter Faith Association aims to:

  • promote religious harmony, diversity and equal opportunities in Edinburgh and its wider environs by bringing together the faith communities in deeper dialogue which leads towards mutual understanding, trust, respect, co-operation and peace;
  • advance the education of the general public on inter-faith and multicultural issues to further their awareness and understanding;
  • contribute toward the development of a global culture of peace by working both locally and globally to improve co-operation between faiths and cultures;
  • work with local, national and international organisations, both religious and secular.

They have a wide ranging programme of events and projects which support intercultural dialogue and peace.  Find out more on their website.

The General Secretary of Edinburgh Inter Faith Association is Iain Stewart who can be contacted at iain@eifa.org.uk.


Edinburgh Women’s Interfaith Group

The Edinburgh Women’s Interfaith Group is a safe, organic, open and informal group, welcoming women of all faiths and none.  They meet on the third Wednesday of the month from 7 – 9 pm, beginning with a shared ‘finger buffet’ vegetarian meal.  Topics that have been discussed include rituals or practices of different faith groups; peace circles; violence against women; storytelling and gracious listening; artistic project work.

On the website you can sign up for newsletters, learn about upcoming events and more.  To contact Edinburgh Women’s Interfaith Group email info@edinwig.org.uk.


Citizens UK – #RefugeesWelcome

Citizens UK have a local #RefugeesWelcome contact and co-ordinator: Helen Watson.  To get in touch to offer support with advocacy and community organising, email her at hvwatson.senn@yahoo.com.


Edinburgh Direct Aid

Edinburgh Direct Aid have been supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon since 2013, by sending shipments of supplies, and by funding schools for the many thousands of children who have not attended school for years and vocational training for young people in the camps vulnerable to recruitment into militant groups. By these means Edinburgh Direct Aid hope to increase hope and social harmony in a small town where the refugees outnumber residents 3 to 1, and reduce the numbers risking their lives fleeing to Europe. In February 2016 EDA volunteers were out there setting up the first stage of a building project that within a few months should put over 1,000 more children into primary school.

Edinburgh Direct Aid is an all-volunteer charity with no professional fundraisers, entirely dependent on donations, fundraising and grants for its work. They list currently required items on their website.


The Welcoming Association 

The Welcoming Association supports migrants and refugees in Edinburgh, helping Scotland to benefit from the diversity, skills and talents that they bring. The Welcoming offers free English classes, a befriending scheme, social and cultural outings and much more. For more information please contact The Welcoming.


News from Edinburgh

26 July 2016 – story from the UNHCR about Edinburgh independent schools offering fully paid bursaries to refugee children

4 September 2015 – Edinburgh Council Leader pledges continuing support for refugees

5 May 2015 – City of Edinburgh Council agrees to resettle vulnerable Syrian refugees

31 March 2015 – Lord Provost makes appeal to support Edinburgh Direct Aid