As the refugee crisis continues, local people in communities across England are responding with warmth and welcome. Near Neighbours has seen and supported some amazing grassroots work to help refugees settle into their new lives.
Amongst some of the highlights are a group from Bury who have received a grant to provide monthly support events for asylum seekers and refugees. When asylum seekers and refugees arrive in Bury, this support group will help many overcome isolation as they are greeted by a sea of friendly faces. There’s another group in Bury who are offering, as well as some friendly faces, the chance for the refugees and asylum seekers to receive some material provisions and social opportunities to sustain them whilst they get settled to life in England.
There is a group in Bradford who have recognised that, when refugees arrive in England, they often need to build up a CV to get themselves into employment. In response to this, they have worked together to provide volunteering and work experience opportunities for refugees so that finding a job can become much easier, as well as offering them the chance to give back to the community. And, down the road from there, a support group in Leeds are branching out to Syrian refugees to welcome them to the city; they are offering a Monday lunch club to offer free meals as well as the opportunity to develop their CV and job searching and applying skills.
Meanwhile, in the West Midlands, work is taking place in Smethwick to train a group of individuals of different faiths to become befrienders and welcomers to refugees arriving in their community. And in Birmingham a group are offering weekly meals as an opportunity for refugees to feel welcome in their new neighbourhoods, as well as offering them the opportunity to find out more about the services that are now available to them.
Our coordinators across the West Midlands area have also been heavily involved in setting up the ‘Places of Welcome’ scheme that is providing hospitality run by local community groups who want to make sure everyone, including refugees and Asylum Seekers, have a friendly face to meet and talk to and a cup of tea to drink.
Work is also taking place in Leicester as one group welcomes refugees to the city by showing them around, allowing them to get to know people who are in a similar situation. Elsewhere in the city, there is a Synagogue who are offering English classes to refugees.
Throughout our network we have seen people and organisations put their hands up and say they will stand alongside refugees and asylum seekers to welcome them to this country, to offer them a safe community in which to live, and assist them as they attempt to make a better life for themselves in their new home.
We just want to say a big thank you to those who have been involved!
Author: Mr Tim Burton-Jones
Date: 09 September 2015
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