Photo kind permission of Kira Vos Photography
For eight years, the war in Syria has raged. We’ve all seen the photos of flattened buildings, people killed or injured, and families torn apart, creating the world’s largest refugee crisis and forcing people into camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Life in these refugee camps is precarious, and most families dream of being able to settle down somewhere to start afresh and rebuild their lives.
It's so easy to feel overwhelmed when we see these stories, to feel there’s nothing we can do to help.
But there is something we can do. In addition to the standard number of refugee families taken in by the UK Government and re-settled in this country, the Home Office operates the Community Sponsorship Scheme, where communities come together to offer the housing, support and friendship needed to welcome a refugee family into life in the UK.
Who are Refugee Welcome Wanstead?
Five churches in the Redbridge & Waltham Forest area: St Mary’s Woodford, Wanstead Parish, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Gabriel’s and St Peter’s-in-the-Forest, have formed a Community Sponsorship group in order to support and absorb a refugee family into our community with the support of RESETUK and the Home Office.
Why Community Sponsorship?
Community Sponsorship transforms the lives of both the family and volunteers. It is a practical way for local people to respond to the global refugee crisis at grassroots level by welcoming people whose lives have been devastated by civil war and conflict into their local communities and supporting them as they rebuild their lives in safety. It also provides a safe and legal route for refugees to come to the UK and improves the chances of refugees to settle in, learn English and find work.
Once the Home Office match us to a family and extend an invitation (via the UNHCR) to come and live in Wanstead, we then work with the family to settle them into their new home and introduce them to activities in the area so they feel welcomed into the local community.
What do we need the funds for?
The single most expensive cost of resettling a family is housing. Although we will receive some help from the state towards the rent, there will still be a shortfall of £9,000 in addition to the costs of getting the house warm, ready and welcoming to receive a family.
We are aiming to raise a minimum of £5,000 from the wider community to help us to get this project off the ground.
We can’t solve all the conflicts of the world, but we believe that if we can help one family, we should. With your help, we can make all the difference in the world to a family who has suffered the loss of their livelihoods and home by bringing them to a safe place, welcomed by a loving community who will help them to build a new life and to integrate in their new home.