The situation for refugees from Ukraine is changing very quickly. Head of JPIC, Nicola Thomas, is keeping a blog updated so that you can quickly access the most up-to-date information in one place.
How can I help refugees?
Those forced to leave their own countries because of war or persecution need support to settle into their new lives. Find advice and practical resources for churches and individuals below.
You can find information on:
- promoting the integration of refugees and asylum seekers
- finding ways of helping victims of modern slavery
- working in partnership with other organisations seeking to combat the poverty experienced by vulnerable migrants
- helping those who are involved in welcoming and reaching out to people in need,
You can also read our blog “Loving the Stranger” remembering Holocaust Day and some practical ways to help.
How we help
Supporting asylum seekers
We have put together a list of resources for supporting asylum seekers in the Diocese of Southwark
Imagine living in a hotel room in a strange country with your partner and children, not knowing how long you’ll be there, not understanding the language and struggling to help your children attend school. That is the situation in which many Afghan families find themselves at the moment in the UK. Read more on our blog
Hong Kong Welcome
In summer 2020, in response to the changing political situation in Hong Kong, the British Government created a new visa route for those who registered before 1997 as British Nationals Overseas in Hong Kong, but now want to come and live in the UK. The new route opened in January 2021. Those arriving might be highly skilled and some will speak good English, but they will still need help settling into the UK. Helping people settle in doesn’t need special skills: it could be as simple as showing them how to use the local transport system, or where to buy school uniform. Even if you are housebound or shielding, you can offer a friendly phonecall or email to welcome newcomers to the area.
- The JPIC Team investigates ways we can help those in our communities struggling to belong as citizens, whether they were born in the UK or have chosen, or been forced, to settle here.
Resettlement and integration of refugees
- We promote community sponsorship, supporting parishes working with refugees through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and giving advice.
- Furthering the commitment as laid down in the motion passed by General Synod in July 2019 to assist refugee and asylum-seeking professionals in finding jobs commensurate with their skills.
- Reset is the Government-sponsored charity which offers advice and support to individuals and groups considering community sponsorship to support resettled refugees. They offer training, advice on applications, an application checking service and an advice line for issues that arise post-arrival.
- There are many wonderful videos available about the impact of community sponsorship in transforming lives. Here is a short 90 second introduction; there are also many videos available on the Reset website.
Reigate Archdeaconry Social Justice Focus (RASJF) have been working with local authorities to provide some support for refugee families when they arrive in the UK. This started with those from Syria under the resettlement scheme and is now extended to Afghani families.
RASJF have provided a new television as a welcome gift. Everyone agrees that access to television is a great help with improving language skills and gives some insight into our culture. They also reimburse these families for the cost of one year’s wi-fi which enables them to maintain contact with their friends and families.
There have also been occasional requests for other financial help which included paying for a rail season ticket for a young person which enabled them to get to college. RASJF feels it is essential to work with the professionals in local government since they are best placed to access genuine needs.