Can Community-Based Social Protection Interventions Improvethe Wellbeing of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the United Kingdom? A Systematic Qualitative Meta-Aggregation Review

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 call for an end to poverty in all its forms ev-erywhere through the adoption of integrated social protection policies. However, recent literature suggests an implicit and explicit discrimination towards asylum seekers and refugees (ASRs) in United Kingdom social policy, leading to high rates of destitution, poor health and isolation. Dueto the limited nature of UK government support, many ASRs become involved with semi-formaland informal social protection. This systematic literature review synthesizes existing qualitative literature that documents the impact of these interventions on the wellbeing of adult ASRs in the United Kingdom. The literature offers useful insights into asylum seeker and refugee perceptions of wellbeing, agency, and support responsibility, and how their interaction with social protection providers constrains or enables the realization of their fundamental human needs. The findings demonstrate that government support is inadequate to meet the needs of many asylum seekers and refugees, leading to disempowerment, lack of agency and exploitation. Positive wellbeing outcomes are linked to semi-formal and informal interventions, summarized into six categories: the positive impact of volunteering; physical space and intentional gathering; practical and material support; training and skills development; solidarity, inclusion and understanding; and peer support and advice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number194
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021


  • asylum seeker
  • refugee
  • social protection
  • wellbeing
  • community based
  • systematic literature review

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