Christmas Carol singing with the Lauriston choir – 19th December, Edinburgh

Starting to feel festive? Get right into the Christmas spirit by joining RST volunteers and the Lauriston choir as they do the rounds in the Quartermile, Tollcross and Bruntsfield area. Walking shoes, hats, gloves, with gluhwein to warm you up afterwards. All welcome, young and not so young. Tuesday 19 December, meet outside Sacred Heart church, Lauriston St at 7 pm.

Everyone is very welcome to join in, and if singing’s not your thing come along and help us by shaking a bucket, handing out flyers or just accompanying the musical fun.

Please invite your friends using our Facebook event page.



RST AGM 2017 – 3rd October, Edinburgh City Chambers

Join us as we look back on the past year, and hear from friends and new Edinburgh grant partners Jon Busby (Director, The Welcoming) and Pamela Couper (Learning Development Coordinator, Saheliya). We’ll also be looking forward to RST’s plans for the future.
wee peopleThe Refugee Survival Trust had another busy year in 2016-17. Our Destitute Asylum Seeker Service had its first full year of operating at capacity and assisted 213 clients with destitution advice, legal support and accommodation. Our longer established grants programmes continued to support many people in need – £72,189 worth of destitution grants were distributed to more than 1300 people. We are grateful to all our volunteers and supporters for their vital contribution in securing funding to continue meeting the demand for Destitution grants this year.

Please let us know if you are able to attend by e-mailing us at

Venue: Member’s Lounge, Edinburgh City Chambers, 253 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ

Tea and coffee will be provided from 5:00 pm, business agenda begins at 5:30 pm.

In the meantime if you want to check out what we’ve been up to lately have a look at the Autumn issue of our newsletter which is now available online at

RST arts workshops & Edinburgh Festival Performance

Here’s a very rare chance to be involved in creating a work of art and putting on a performance during the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe. RST is 21 years old and we celebrating this milestone by devising and presenting a participatory performance called ‘Surviving in Scotland – 21 years of RST’ as part of the Just Festival. Just Festival events are designed to engage with topical local, national and international questions of social justice, equality and identity, including prejudice against race, ethnicity, class and economic status.

Just Festival logo

We’re looking for people to take part in the performance, make friends and have fun by joining in our creative rehearsal workshops. We are very lucky to be able to offer workshops in painting, music and poetry from three fabulously talented workshop leaders – an art workshop to create brilliant props with Syrian artist Nihad, a music workshop for an exhilarating musical act with Emma, and a poetry workshop with Helen for finding the words that say what we mean…

* Saturday 12 August  2 to 5 pm,  ART WORKSHOP – paint your own panels with Nihad al-TurkMcDonald Road Library, 2-4 McDonald Road EH7 4LU

FREE PICTURE: World famous Syrian Artist Nihad al Turk gives paintings to Leith School of Art charity auction, Wed 22/03/2017: *** EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL THURSDAY 23RD MARCH 2017 *** Syrian Artist who came on First Refugee Flight Thanks Scotland with Charity Gift - East Aleppo painter arrested for opposing Syrian regime joins more than 50 artists in supporting Leith School of Art fundraising auction A respected artist who was on the first Syrian refugee flight from Lebanon with his family is saying “thank you” to Scotland by donating paintings to a charity auction. Nihad al Turk is pictured with some of his paintings in his Edinburgh studio. More information from: Matthew Shelley - PR consultant for Leith School of Art (LSA) - 07786 704 299 - Photography for Leith School of Art from: Colin Hattersley Photography - - - 07974 957 388. Free FIRST USE (ONLY) picture. Photography from: Colin Hattersley Photography - - - 07974 957 388

*Thursday 17 August  7 to 9 pm,  MUSIC WORKSHOP – an amazing musical  session withEmma SmithLauriston Hall, 28 Lauriston Street EH3 9DJ  

*Thursday 24 August  7 to 9 pm,  POETRY WORKSHOP – make your words zing with Helen Boden Lauriston Hall, 28 Lauriston Street EH3 9DJ  

*Saturday 26 August 2 to 4 pm, GENERAL REHEARSAL on the open air Tupiniquim stage,The Green Police Box, Middle Meadow Walk, Lauriston Place,  EH1 9AU

*Saturday 26 August 7.30 to 8.30 pm, RST PERFORMANCE as part of the Just Festival, St John’s Church, Princes St, EH2 4BJ

Everyone who joins in our workshops is automatically included in our participatory performance during the Edinburgh Fringe!

To book your place send RST volunteer Sarah an email with your name, age and contact details  – or text 07593316284  and she will get back to you.

International Folk Concert – Refugee Festival Scotland 2017

Join us as part of Refugee Festival Scotland for an international folk concert featuring a unique blend of old and new, with:

Kameran Hamo

Kameran Hamo has been living in Edinburgh for a year, and has kindly played at many concerts for RST and other refugee charities. We are delighted to welcome him and his family to this concert, during Refugee Week.

The Syn Eastern Music Group

The Syn Eastern Music Group is led by Stella Mazeri and it is made up of musicians interested in Middle Eastern and Balkan music. They will play a variety of tunes from Greek, Turkish, Kurdish, Persian and other traditions. They practise regularly in Edinburgh and all levels and types of acoustic instruments and/or voice (guitar, oud, lute, violin, flute, percussion etc.) are welcome. We are also very interested to hear from anyone who could teach a song or tune. Please email:

Sarah Phizacklea & Majik Stokes

Majk Stokes and Sarah Phizacklea are both Edinburgh-based singer-songwriters. Over the past three years they have collaborated to create the Fringe concerts “Make Tea, Not War” at the Quaker Meeting House, raising funds for various charities. More recently they have worked together on Majk’s upcoming new album “Too Much Caffeine” (available in August).

Sarah regularly performs with “The Pearls”, a 1950s housewife-style duo, bringing cheer to hospitals and nursing homes. Majk also plays and calls for ceilidhs with his band Shingis McKingis. They are honoured to have been asked to play this evening in aid of RST.

Community Kurdish DancingWP_20170405_19_46_37_Pro

Come along and find out about the music, instruments and dances of cultures from around the world, share delicious foods, and celebrate connections between different communities.


A chance to win an original painting by internationally renowned artist Nihad Al Turk in the raffle – don’t miss this incredible opportunity to own a one-off piece of art!


7pm – 9pm

Lauriston Hall, 28 Lauriston Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DJ


International food and soft drinks provided

Funding available to support transport costs for refugees – please contact for more information.

Donations welcome – all money raised goes to RST’s grant programmes for asylum seekers and refugees

This event is part of Refugee Festival Scotland 2017, Tuesday 20 June – Sunday 2 July 2017. #RefugeeFestScot

Coordinated by Scottish Refugee Council, Refugee Festival Scotland is an annual Scotland-wide programme of arts, cultural, educational, heritage and sport events that brings refugee and local communities across Scotland together.

There to Here: An evening of music and poetry for RST

Thursday 10 November 7.30pm to 9pm

Lauriston Hall, 28 Lauriston St, Edinburgh, EH3 9DJ

Join the Facebook event here

We have a great selection of poets, musicians and singers joining us for our There to Here event on Thursday 10th November in Lauriston Hall, Edinburgh!

Come along and enjoy a varied programme thanks to our talented friends and supporters including:

Poems read by members of the Migrant Voice workshop, led by Pinar Aksu

Poet Clare Lavery

Tanbur music by Kameran Hamo

Arias sung by Voice Arc

Fiddle tunes by Robert Hardiment

Singing led by guitar player Fiona Watson

Vibrant and moving; not to be missed!

FREE – All welcome!

Donations to Refugee Survival Trust

Refreshments provided

Valentine’s Eve Ceilidh

Valentine's Eve Ceilidh_feb 16 Ceilidh Collective presents a fantastic event in support of the Refugee Survival Trust and Reforesting Scotland.

Valentine’s Eve Ceilidh

with Hud Yer Wheesht

Saturday 13th February 2016.

7pm – 1pm

At Edinburgh Steiner School, 60 Spylaw Road, Edinburgh EH10 5BR.

Tickets available online from Brown Paper Tickets or in person at New Leaf Co-op on Argyle Place, Edinburgh.

First Foot To Arrival

A special free event – part fundraiser, part awareness-raiser, part scratch night, part winter warmer at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh.

Traverse Bar Café, 10 Cambridge Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2ED

Friday 15th January 2016

from 7:30pm.

Tickets are free – but there will be collections on the night in aid of RST and Scottish Detainee Visitors.

Journeys – Reflecting the Refugee Experience

Poetry Reading – Thursday 9th April 2015, 6:30 – 8:00pm.

Lauriston Hall,  Lauriston St, Lauriston, Edinburgh, EH3 9DJ ​​

A poetry reading with Makar W.N.Herbert​ on the subject of Journeys, with special thoughts about refugees and their anguished journeys.  All contributions welcome

Have you written a poem about  a journey you took? Have you got a poem you like to take when traveling?

W.N.Herbert will read his own engaging poems, and then members of the audience will have an opportunity to recite or read a poem of their choosing.

We look forward to an interesting and moving evening with the Scottish Poetry Library in support of Refugee Survival Trust on 9 April, from 6.30 to 8pm, at Lauriston Hall.

Tickets £5 (£4 concessions). Home baking included.

Sign up for the event here.

Please contact Sarah: for further details.


Get in tune for Christmas with an International Carol Concert!

Featuring carols and seasonal songs from around the world.

Friday 5th December 2014, 7:30 – 8.40pm

Sacred Heart Church,  Lauriston St, Lauriston, Edinburgh, EH3 9DJ ​

All welcome – Free entry – Retiring collection for the Refugee Survival Trust

We are asking for contributions of international carols and any keen musicians to help out on the day. Please send suggestions for carols and offers of help to Sarah at


The Sanctuary Summit is coming:

Saturday 15th November, 2014.


This ground-breaking national conference, drawing together a wide range of organisations across the country, in solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees, is to be held on 15th November in Birmingham. This event is supported by many national organisations including the Refugee Council,

Refugee Action, ​Scottish Refugee Council, Welsh Refugee Council, British Red Cross, City of Sanctuary, Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum,  NACCOM, ​Boaz Trust,  Refugee Survival Trust, Still Human Still Here, STAR, Detention Action, UNHCR, Migrants’ Rights Network, the Detention Forum, Right to Remain, Freedom from Torture, Refugee Week, Migrant Voice and many other organisations across the country.

It will bring together diverse groups to unite around 8 key principles which are

  1. All asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to be treated with dignity and respect.
  2. Asylum seekers to be welcomed & befriended on arrival, and offered free language tuition so they can fully participate and contribute to the local community.
  3. Free access to healthcare for all asylum seekers while they are in the UK.
  4. Access to good quality legal advice and representation.
  5. Improved decision making, so protection is granted to all who need it.
  6. An end to destitution, by providing sufficient support to all asylum seekers to ensure they can meet their essential living needs while in the UK.
  7. Permission to work for asylum seekers whose case has taken more than six months, or who have been refused and are temporarily unable to return home.
  8. An end to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and migrants.

There will be workshops on each of these policy themes.

There will also be practical action workshops on awareness raising and effective campaigning around the media, MPs, city councils, the arts and local communities.  In addition there will be a fringe meeting on Syrian refugees and regional meetings. The day will finish and end with inspirational speeches from key people such as Sarah Teather, Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, and Maurice Wren Chief Executive of The Refugee Council and refugee activists who have survived persecution, long journeys, the UK asylum process and other unmentionable traumas who will want to be part of the birth of the new sanctuary movement.

It is hoped that the Summit will offer people across the country both space and structure to energise our campaigning in the run-up to the General Election and beyond, building unity and coherence around the 8 principles, providing the momentum for a new movement that embraces mutual support and stimulates stronger campaigning actions.

Further information is on the Sanctuary Summit website  or email

Bookings are via Eventbrite


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