Welcome To START
Students and Refugees Together
Supporting refugees to settle in Plymouth and the far southwest. Providing innovative placement opportunities for students.
Tell Me More



Our mission is to work in partnership with families, individuals and organisations to facilitate the transition of refugees from people in need to self reliant contributors to their local communities. START recognises the skills and experiences that refugees bring to the city. As a learning organisation, START uniquely utilises the student placement as a resource which together with the strengths and skills of the community, we work out what support is needed and how to achieve it.

We support

refugees to reduce the impact and isolation they feel coming to live in Plymouth. We offer holistic support either by working on a one to one basis or through community activities.

We advocate

and assist refugees to live within new communities or to move to new geographical locations.

We provide

various community activities that promote recreation and other leisure time occupations within the refugee communities. These activities seek to reduce social isolation, promote healthy living and create volunteering opportunities.

We advance

the education of students in training by providing learning experiences, which contribute to their personal and professional development.

START regularly contributes to health and education conferences, presentations and publications which promote best practice. We foster the development of social networks and promote integration. We have developed strong links with other organisations within Plymouth.


Come and meet us at one of our community projects to find out more.

One to One Support

START Job Club

Every Wednesday, 9.30am - 12.30pm
Unit 3 HQ Building, Union Street, PL1 3HQ

Women's Creative Group

Every Tuesday, 1.00pm-3.00pm
The Kinsman Room, Sherwell United Church Hall, North Hill, PL4 8ER
(From September through to early July)

START Allotment

Every Thursday, 11.30am-2.00pm
Central Park Allotments
(From March through to November)

Cultural Kitchen

Every other Friday, 4.00pm-8.30pm
Sherwell United Church Hall, North Hill, PL4 8ER

START Walking

3-4 walks each year
Plymouth coastline, rivers, lakes, moorland, woods and parkland

START Volunteering

Volunteers form an integral part of START, supporting the service across a range of roles including:

Job Club Assistants   —   Volunteer Interpreters   —   Drop-in Assistants   —   Community Activity Volunteers   —   Members of the START Service User Forum

Volunteers bring a wealth of skills, international experience and cultural knowledge to our service.

Volunteering at START helped me improve my English and IT skills
Understanding the ways of other people
Helping people find employment and support their families
Having the opportunity to work with people on a one-to-one basis

Please contact the START office for more information

Become a Trustee

START trustees meet every other month on a Monday evening , 6.00pm – 7.30pm to fulfil their responsibility for financial and strategic governance.

Between meetings, trustees are involved at whatever level suits them from volunteering in activities to budget management, fund raising, policy development and staff support. The rewards of being a trustee for START are substantial:

‘Enthusiasm, passion, perseverance and patience are the hallmarks of the entire START workforce. As a relatively new trustee I have found it impossible not to be drawn into that environment ensuring a great deal of motivation and satisfaction’
‘Working with START is always interesting and I really enjoy seeing the way all our different strengths come together to make a difference. We can learn so much from refugees and students about what is important and how to make things happen’

We are particularly keen to recruit people with experience of the asylum and immigration process.

We currently have vacancies on our trustee board. For more information about the role please read our trustee information pack. If you would like to apply please complete and return the application form.

Student Placements

START is unique because students on practice placements make up the majority of the workforce. START recruits students who are enthusiastic, resourceful, responsible and skilled learners.

There are lots of opportunities for students at START to make a contribution to the lives of people who are building a new life in the city.

Students from a wide range of disciplines including social work, occupational therapy and clinical psychology have completed successful practice learning at START. We welcome international students too and regularly have students from Germany, France and Norway.

'START is a very special organization for students as we contribute such a big part of the work.'
'It was a valuable opportunity to challenge my own and others' prejudices and to explore diversity.'
'It gives opportunities for creative social work and breaking out of the statutory sector.'
'It demands but also furthers one's ability to work innovatively, using initiative and life experience.'

Please contact the START office for more information


If you are interested in what we do, are passionate about human rights and social justice and would like to support us, you can make a donation to START.

We greatly appreciate all donations given to us. This money will go towards the continued support and opportunities we provide for refugees in Plymouth and the wider South West.

Social Media

Stay up to date with START by following us on Social Media.

Contact Us

Address: Unit 4 HQ Building, 237 Union Street, Plymouth, PL1 3HQ
Office hours: Monday 10.00am to 1.00pm open drop in, all other times by appointment only.

T: 01752 255200
F: 01752 668826