Recently the Cathedral hosted ‘PEACE: Responding to the refugee crisis’. A video of highlights from the event is now on the diocesan web page: http://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/refugees, with lots of useful resources.
Since the event took place, much has been happening across the diocese. Important links have been formed between the diocesan team, the county and borough councils, charities and other key stakeholders.
Refugees arrive in the Diocese
The first group of refugees to arrive in the diocese under the resettlement programme will come directly from the refugee camps in Lebanon in early December, and more will be arriving soon after Christmas. This group is formed of four families, each with young children – 7 little girls, and a boy of 3 years, and a baby expected very soon.
The diocesan team are liaising with the county and borough councils to help support the families, who have been through a strict vetting process. Although they have housing allocated to them, they will have very few possessions.
Their urgent needs are:
- Furniture (not white or electrical goods)
- Pram and pushchairs
- Vacuum cleaners
- Crockery and cooking utensils
- Winter clothes
Additional ongoing needs are:
- Housing – social landlords with two or three bedroom properties
- Storage space
- Teachers of English as a Second Language
If you can supply any of these, please contact Diane Peters: firstname.lastname@example.org. For now we will keep a list of offers to match specific needs, so please do not bring any items until requested. We will update you as needs change.
There is still a great need for financial donations to support refugees in camps across Europe, Lebanon and Jordan. The best way is through existing charities as they already have the people on the ground and have the expertise to use your donations well. See our list of suggested charities: http://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/refugees.
As winter sets in and the weather gets colder, the need for warm clothing for those in the camps is becoming critical. Guildford: People to People have a collection of warm clothing organised for November 28 at Guildford Borough Council. The have a very specific list of needs: http://guildfordpeople.org/events, so please check before you donate.
We would also encourage you to write to your MP to urge them to press David Cameron for a stronger response to the refugee crisis. There is aletter template on the website if you would like to use it.
Thank you for your continued time, enthusiasm and compassion to helping all refugees, whether in the camps or arriving in the UK. Please continue to hold them in your prayers.