Refugees in Devon
Churches in Devon are supporting the Home Office Community Sponsorship initiative to welcome and resettle vulnerable Syrian refugees who have fled to camps in the adjacent countries from appalling conflict and trauma. The scheme allows ordinary British people to welcome and integrate a Syrian family into their community, to help them access services; and to develop as communities ourselves!
The South West is leading the way, with Devon particularly so. Charis Refugees, a local Christian charity, has a map of SW projects, and great resources, including regular peer support. Many projects are church-based, including ABIDE in Ottery St Mary and TARKA in the Bideford area, or supported by local Christian organisations like the Pickwell Foundation.
People from different churches come together, with people of other faiths and none, to meet a family at the airport; settle them into their new home; help them access schools, English courses, employment; access medical and social services; and simply, vitally, to be good, friendly neighbours. As they put their faith into practice, applying the parable of the Good Samaritan, volunteers repeatedly remark how they get back even more than they put in. See more, through the example of Hani and ‘Ottery St My Daughter’ here.
If you’re interested in finding out more about whether you and your community might like to pursue this, please start with this brilliant short animation, have a look at Charis Refugees or any of the other links, or please contact us to discuss.