Refugee Support Newsletter – March 2020 (Part 1)

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In this newsletter

  • CCOW’s new booklet for Oxfordshire churches

  • Other Resources

  • Actions

Because of the current public health situation, we are cancelling the ‘Churches Supporting Refugees’ event on 24th March. We intend to hold it at a future date and will let you know when we are able to reschedule.

The situation is changing very rapidly – this is, therefore, the first part of a two-part email. Next week we will send an update on local groups and how you can continue to support them at this difficult time, as well as introducing new prayers and online opportunities to keep us all connected.

Churches Supporting Refugees – new booklet for Oxfordshire churches

CCOW, in collaboration with partners from a number of local and national refugee chatities, has produced “Supporting Refugees – a guide for Oxfordshire churches”, which has been sent to over 300 churches. Please contact for more copies. We hope it will help churches discern how they can support refugees locally.


Chatterbox is an online language learning service taught by refugee professionals who are native speakers. The University of Reading recently joined with Chatterbox to connect students with refugee coaches.

Sponsor Refugees has produced safeguarding resources for Community Sponsorship groups – useful guides and templates, helpful for anyone working with refugees.

The Missing Migrants Project tracks incidents involving migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, who have died or gone missing in the process of migration towards an international destination. Data from 2014 to 2020, broken down by month, region and is shown in charts.

Redcliffe College, a Christian mission training centre, has a new online Refugee Worker Training course. Over four sessions (minimum 3 hours each) it aims to develop understanding of the refugee experience as well as self-care. Cost £80.

R2C2 Refugee Resource Centre for Churches has produced two Quick Guides – on the asylum seeker in your church and persecuted Christians and new converts with advice on how best to help them. R2C2’s website is also regularly updated with research, reports and briefings from the refugee sector.

Sanctuary Hosting recently reached two significant milestones – since it began in 2015 volunteers in the Thames Valley have now hosted more than 100 guests (refugees and other vulnerable migrants), providing more than 20,000 nights of accommodation. Hear an interview with a volunteer host broadcast on Radio Oxford. Watch the 8-minute film “A Road to Oxford”, produced with the help of Sanctuary Hosting, of Rawan from Syria telling his story. Sanctuary Hosting has made available the short country guides for hosts which it has produced on Albania, Afghanistan, Eritrea and The Gambia (the top four countries from which guests come)– helpful for better understanding people from these countries.

Refugee Support Network (RSN) has put together advice and information for asylum seekers and refugees interested in going to university in the UK, specific to the person’s immigration status. RSN also provides a personal higher education advice service. Those unable to access student loans because of their immigration status may be able to apply for scholarships like the UCL Access Opportunity Scholarship.

Read RSN’s Catherine Gladwell’s article “Accessing and thriving in education in the UK” about the barriers faced by refugee and asylum-seeking children and what the authorities and schools can do to help.

Short article and infographic “15 Facts about asylum-seekers and refugees” for use in myth-busting and addressing negative stereotypes. Also a myth-busting 2-minute video clip “Why do refugees want to come to the UK?” showing the destinations of refugees who cross the Mediterranean.

The British Red Cross has released a new report “The cost of destitution: a cost-benefit analysis of extending the move-on period for new refugees”. It explains why an increase from 28 to 56 days is needed, in the time allowed to transition to mainstream benefits or employment when refugee status is granted.

Bridget Walker of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network has written a handout on Asylum Seekers and the Militarisation of Borders. Contact for a copy and/or to talk to her about this. See also Saferworld’s report on this issue.

Migrant Help has been working with Doctors of the World and British Red Cross to put together Coronavirus (Covid 19) advice in a number of languages. So far there is English, Albanian, Dari, French, Pashto, Portuguese, Bengali, Vietnamese, Kurdish Sorani, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Farsi, with Malayalam, Amharic, Tigrinya and Somali coming soon. Doctors of the World will replace documents with any new advice as updates come in. To be notified of these updates email with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.


With the ongoing offensive in Idlib province in Syria continuing to force people to flee their homes (almost a million have fled since December alone) continue to call for action to stop the bombing and provide humanitarian assistance, e.g. by signing The Syria Campaign’s petition.

Since Turkey opened its borders at the end of February many are trying to reach Europe, increasing the overcrowding in Greek island refugee camps. Sign the petition to the EU leaders calling for immediate decongestion of the Aegean islands. Support one of the charities providing practical help there and seeking legal routes to sanctuary, e.g. Help Refugees or Safe Passage.

Now added to the problems for those living in overcrowded, unsanitary refugee camps is the likely spread of the corona virus Covid-19. With a confirmed case on Lesbos there are concerns for the refugee camp there, and the refugee population throughout the Middle East is particularly vulnerable. Refugees worldwide risk being further stigmatised by this situation and host countries need help. Pray for wisdom for those in authority and support UNHCR’s Covid-19 appeal.

This email was sent to you by Christian Concern for One World.(CCOW), The Rectory, Church End, Blewbury OX11 9QH

You received it because you have expressed an interest in receiving information about our work with refugees.