Refugee Support Newsletter – June 2019

  • Save the date – Saturday 5th October – our big event this year!

  • News from Local Groups

  • Resources

  • Actions

  • Upcoming Events

Save the date – Saturday 5th October – our big event this year!

Following on from the success of ‘Partnerships of Hope – Working Together for Refugees’  last year, we’re delighted to announce another day conference.

‘Responding to the changing landscape for refugees’ is for refugees and all walking alongside or interested in doing so. It will take place at Wesley Memorial Church in central Oxford and will involve presentations from  national and local speakers with a wealth of relevant expertise and personal experience. There will also be workshops and opportunities for networking. See the  Eventbrite page for details and to register. The conference is free to attend, but we ask for a donation to cover the cost of lunch

  Bicester Event

News from Local Groups

Bicester Refugee Support had a stand at the Bicester Big Lunch (see photos). This community gathering, led by the Churches in Bicester, showcases what the community is doing. The stand had the theme of ‘Home from Home’ to celebrate the Syrian families that the group has been supporting through furnishing private rented accommodation. It included children’s creative activities, of which the most popular involved making a house into a home by cutting out and gluing the necessary furnishings. The Bicester families are making further progress with learning English, undertaking training, and making friends. Some are now in employment. The families are well supported by volunteers, managed by Connection Support and Hope Into Action. In January Cherwell District Council committed to supporting another six families, due to arrive during 2019,  through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

Asylum Welcome is delighted to have been chosen as one of the charities of the new Lord Major of Oxford who says “I specifically want to make Oxford a truly welcoming city”. As well as their new appeal “weaving nets of support” Asylum Welcome has also launched a new service – it is now one of a number of advice agencies across the UK that is going to be running a vital service for Europeanswho are unable to complete the EU settlement scheme registration without help.

Marlow Refugee Action‘s co-founder Tom Doust recently visited the Greek island of Samos, now home to 5,000 refugees, and met with people working there in very difficult conditions, including those working at the Legal Centre which MRA helps to fund. MRA is also helping local refugees to access English language tuition and get back into their professions. Hear an interview on Marlow FM‘s Mid Morning Matters programme (broadcast 3rd May: interview starts 96 minutes in).

Sanctuary Hosting is keen to send an inspiring speaker to groups, organisations and events to talk about hosting refugees and migrants. See their new flyer.

Wycombe Refugee Partnership has a new website and welcomed their 19th refugee family to High Wycombe at the end of May.


This year 23rd June is designated Sanctuary Sunday. Churches are asked to make a commitment on Sanctuary Sunday and encouraged to use a resource entitled Hospitality and Sanctuary for All compiled by Rev Inderjit Bhogal.

A recent report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration highlights a number of issues with UK fees for immigration and citizenship services. It recommends waiving child citizenship fees for those unable to pay. Citizens UK’s research found these fees (£1,012) to be five times higher than the European average. The vast majority of the fee is profit, as the Home Office itself estimates the processing costs to be £372. The situation is leaving thousands of young people who having grown up in this country without citizenship.

Immigration detention in the UK was severely criticised in a report by the Home Affairs Committee in March. The Guardian reports on the unlawful detention of vulnerable people, wider issues of poor asylum decisions and how millions of pounds could be saved by a 28-day time limit on immigration detention. See The Migration Observatory’s overview and statistics of immigration detention in the UK.

The Right to Remain Toolkit, a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system, is now available free online. Updated regularly, it contains detailed information on rights and options at different stages of the process, some in multiple languages.

Read about many new Community Sponsorship groups across the UK welcoming refugee families.

Recordings of the presentations at the Refugee Studies Centre’s March conference “Democratizing Displacement” are now available online.

A report by the Institute of Race Relations When witnesses won’t be silenced: citizens’ solidarity and criminalisation highlights a significant increase across Europe in prosecutions of people assisting and showing solidarity with migrants.

Some good news for child asylum seekers in the UK – councils will now receive more money to care for unaccompanied minorsand young asylum seekers should in future be less likely to be wrongly classed as adults, as the Home Office must rewrite its policy on age determination. But there is concern that unaccompanied child refugees in France may no longer be able to transfer to the UK under the Dubs scheme and Safe Passage’s report on Unaccompanied children in Greece in the Dublin family reunification process reveals difficulties they face.

The government has published the latest UK immigration statistics. The Refugee Council comments on these and, together with Refugee Action and the British Red Cross, is calling on the government to commit to continuing refugee resettlement after the end of the current schemes in 2020 and to expand this to welcome at least 10,000 each year.


Sign Amnesty International’s online petitioncalling on the UK government to stop thousands of children who are eligible for British citizenship being denied their right as they are unable to pay the fees of over £1,000. Use Citizens UK’s online petition and letter to your MP asking for child citizenship fees to be reduced.

Help Refugees’ “Choose Love Not Landfill” project salvages abandoned tents and sleeping bags after UK festivals and sends them to Calais, Greece and beyond for refugees. Join a team of volunteers for Glastonbury (1st -2nd July), Boomtown (12th -13th Aug), Reading & Leeds (26th-27th Aug).

Share UNHCR’s 1 minute video “8 practical ways you can help refugees”.

As a church join Welcome Churches’ network of churches around the UK committed to welcoming refugees. Sign up to give regularly to Welcome Churches and receive a free 40-day devotional book.

Take part in Concern Worldwide’s Ration Challenge to survive on the same rations as a Syrian refugee during Refugee Week (or another time).


Upcoming Events

Thursday 13th June – Celebrate Eid at the ‘KAMA Cafe’ (Oxford) 
Friday 14th June – Workshop: Livelihoods and Socio-Economic Inclusion of Syrian Refugees in Host Countries (Oxford)

REFUGEE WEEK Monday 17th – Sunday 23rd June 2019:
Tuesday 18th June – Safe Passage demonstration outside Parliament for a legal route to safety for child refugees(London)
Wednesday 19th June – Come and meet with Lord Alf Dubs in Chorleywood(Chorleywood)
Wednesday 19th June – Film screening of “Female Voice” (Oxford)
Wednesday 19th June – Film – Le Havre by Aki Kaurismäki (Reading)
Thursday 20th June – On Her Shoulders (RRSG’s 25th Anniversary Film Festival)(Reading)
Thursday 20th June – Weaving Networks of Support – an evening of solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers everywhere(Oxford)
Thursday 20th June – Celebrate World Refugee Day (Milton Keynes)
Friday 21st June – On Her Shoulders (RRSG’s 25th Anniversary Film Festival)(Wokingham)
Sunday 23rd June – On Her Shoulders (RRSG’s 25th Anniversary Film Festival)(Newbury)

Monday 24th June – Multaka-Oxford Networking Day (Oxford)
Monday 24th June – Crochet with Souad – KAMA Oxford workshop (Oxford)
Friday 28th June – Access to HE for young refugees and asylum seekers: training for practitioners (London)
Monday 8th July – Crochet with Souad – KAMA Oxford workshop (Oxford)
Monday 22nd July – Crochet with Souad – KAMA Oxford workshop (Oxford)

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