Peckham Sponsors Refugees will meet with a Home Office representative in the next few weeks to seek pre-approval to re-home a refugee family fleeing conflict and devastation in Syria. The family is expected to arrive in the community early next year.
Peckham Sponsors Refugees, which has been supported by around 100 locals, has worked tirelessly over a period of months to prepare for the family’s arrival and get all the necessary plans in place, culminating in handing in what Tim Finch, a local resident who is founding director of Sponsor Refugees, said is ‘the most thorough and comprehensive application I have seen.’
The group has found a home for the family, raised funds to help support them when they arrive, and drawn up a safeguarding and resettlement plan. The group has also sourced an Arabic translator and researched educational and support services available to help the family settle into the area when they arrive.
Over the next few months, the Home Office will complete final checks to ensure the community is ready to house the family. The Home Office will then identify a family – currently living in a refugee camp in Jordan or Lebanon – that has applied to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to be resettled to another country that can offer them a better chance of rebuilding their lives.
Gabriella D’Avino, Chair of Peckham Sponsors Refugees, said:
“We’re absolutely delighted that it’s now just a matter of months before we’ll be welcoming a Syrian family to the neighbourhood.
“The community has really come together – fundraising, writing applications and finding a house – to do what it can to provide a new home for a family caught up in a desperate situation.
“The people of Syria have endured more than 6 years of destruction and violence on a terrifying scale. Millions have fled to escape the horrors.
“In the UK, we should be doing all we can to open our doors to the Syrian families who have been forced from their homes. Peckham can be proud of its efforts to make our country a more welcoming place.
“PSR has done wonderful work and I am glad to have met so many fantastic people living in Peckham. Community Sponsorship can really make a great difference in the refugees’ lives, but can also have an invaluable effect on the local community”.
Some members of the Peckham sponsorship group have teamed up to form a befriending network to provide support for the family if they need it – whether that’s setting up a bank account or helping to find school places for children. The fundraising team will continue to host events over the next few months to raise money to support the family.