Refugee Support Newsletter – December 2017

In this newsletter

  • New developments and resources

  • News from local groups

  • Upcoming events and actions

New developments and resources

New Refugee Officer

In CCOW’s work on migration and refugees, we realised that many churches are keen to engage with the people and wider issues involved, but need personal support and contact with a network. So after discussions with others in our area who are working with refugees we developed the new role of Churches Refugee Networking Officer. Joanna Schüder works ten hours a week in the new post. You can contact her on or 07823686568

CCOW website

A new section of the CCOW website focuses on refugees and forced migration. It includes: an interactive map showing where refugee support groups in the Thames Valley are located, information about refugees and ways to support them, inspiring case studies of local groups, and a Guide to Online Worship Resources. We hope it’s useful: let us know what you think.

Welcoming Syrian refugees

This downloadable brochure from Citizens UK and others is full of helpful guidance on all steps of community organisation and also offers a link to many further useful documents and templates. Highly recommended.

Foundation for Community Sponsorship of Refugees

In July 2016, the Government launched the community sponsorship scheme, which allows community groups to take on the responsibility of resettling refugee families. On 9th October Citizen’s UK launched Sponsor Refugees, their Foundation for Community Sponsorship of Refugees, which offers support and training for faith and community groups considering or going through the process of becoming a community sponsor. Their website has information on this support, as well as stories of what groups involved are doing.

New research and analysis by Refugee Action  

New research has found that there is inadequate English language provision nationally for refugees, with people having to waiting months, even years to start ESOL classes. Refugee Action is calling on the Government to commit to providing a minimum of eight hours per week of ESOL lessons, to which resettled Syrian refugees are already entitled, for all refugees in Britain.

Refugee Action has also analysed the latest Home Office figures on immigration. They find that as of September 2017,  9,394 people had been welcomed through the government’s Syrian refugee resettlement programme, putting Britain on track to meet its target of welcoming 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. But despite asylum applications overall falling by 21% year on year, the number of people waiting for more than the Government’s target of 6 months for a decision on their claim has risen by 27% to 10,552 … nearly half of all claimants.

News from Local Groups

Wycombe Refugee Partnership

has been awarded one of two 2017 Wilson/Hinkes Peace Awards in recognition of their work resettling refugee families. This was followed by another peace award – from the World Peace Flame Foundation. Congratulations to Wycombe Refugee Partnership and all its volunteers.

Brightwell Supporting Refugees

At the beginning of September, some members visited the schools for Syrian refugee children in Jordan which the group is supporting. They met refugees and charity workers, took donated laptops and tablets which are now in use in the classroom, and gained deeper insight to inspire and inform the group’s work.

Marlow Refugee Action

celebrated its first anniversary in October and launched its Winter Aid Appeal. It’s asking for funds for winter boots for refugees in northern France and for donated items that will go to refugees across Europe and the Middle East.

Faringdon Syrian Refugees Group

has now helped to set up the 8th house for Syrian refugees in the Vale of White horse and South Oxfordshire area. They are working with the Red Cross to help the families arriving under the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

Witney Refugee Action

held Asylum Sounds, a fantastic community festival with music, food and fun, showing welcome to the resettled refugee families.

Churches in Bicester Refugee Support Group

has started planning to buy, in shared ownership, a house in Bicester to accommodate Syrian refugees. Investors have already raised much of the capital, but they are still looking for some people who can invest at least £5,000 for 5 years.

Upcoming Events and Actions

The CCOW events calendar is updated regularly with events of interest on this and other topics. Take a look!

This email is sent by Christian Concern for One World.(CCOW), The Rectory, Church End, Blewbury OX11 9QH to  people who have expressed an interest in receiving information about our work with refugees.