LRN, as the organisation was originally called, started from need. At the end of the 1980s Lewisham College and Community Education Lewisham were running English-language classes for the increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers in the borough. Teachers and refugees who were established in the community struggled to help newcomers with the problems they faced. A local advice group was needed and by November 1991, students, their teachers and members of the Blackheath United Nations Association got together to form one.
At the first open meeting more than 70 people attended, from many different communities. A committee was formed consisting of up to three representatives of each country – at the time Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kurdistan, Liberia, Rwanda and Uganda – and seven non-refugees from the UK.
By 1992, and with financial help from Lewisham Council, a one-room office opened on Lewisham High Street. Offering information and a referral service, it was staffed by a rota of volunteers – refugees and non-refugees – working in pairs to provide support to the steady stream of clients seeking help.
In March 1994, LRN was able to move into a bigger office in Parker House, Deptford. The following November, the first paid worker was appointed. By 1996, the organisation had become a Company Limited by Guarantee (to protect its trustees, who were all from refugee communities) and a registered charity.
DUE TO INCREASING DEMANDS FROM MIGRANT COMMUNITIES, IN NOVEMBER 2011 LRN CHANGED ITS NAME TO LRMN. TODAY WE SERVE PEOPLE FROM ALL AREAS OF LONDON BUT FOCUS ON COMMUNITIES FROM SOUTH LONDON.
Our Vision, Mission and Values
We have been providing free, independent and confidential advice to refugee, asylum seeker and migrant (RASM) communities for over 25 years. Today we work with thousands of clients from all over London and help them access services needed to integrate and thrive into their local community.