Edited 18.3.20: Following the latest advice from Public Health England regarding the coronavirus, the event on 25th March has been cancelled.
Peckham Sponsors Refugees (PSR), a community sponsorship group of more than 100 local volunteers, is re-launching this spring as the global refugee crisis continues to worsen.
It has been one year since PSR welcomed a Syrian family to our neighbourhood in March 2019. This was made possible through the hard work and generosity of many local people, who have been working together under the government’s Community Sponsorship Scheme since January 2018.
On the anniversary of the family’s arrival, PSR is holding a public meeting on Wednesday 25th March at 7pm at Peckham Springs to discuss sponsoring a second refugee family to come to Peckham.
“Now that we are in the UK, we feel safe,” a young man sponsored by PSR said at a recent event to support another community sponsorship group in Bermondsey. “Peckham Sponsors Refugees welcomed us at the airport and provided us with the necessary assistance. We are thankful to all the members of the group because they were like a second family for us.”
“Thanks again — because they didn’t leave us in danger, we now feel safe and happy,” he said.
Thanks to the generosity of a local homeowner who provided an affordable house with six bedrooms, PSR was able to sponsor an extended family of eight people including a young child who celebrated her third birthday recently with a fun-filled party attended by the community group.
“Being involved in PSR has been an utterly rewarding experience,” said the PSR volunteer leading the language team, which has supported the family in accessing English as a second language (ESOL) courses and provided ad hoc English classes at home since their first week in the country. “I feel so privileged to have met such committed, friendly and supportive people in my local community.”
Peckham Sponsors Refugees is helping to change the hostile environment narrative around refugees and migrants. In October, Bea Forrester – who was only 19 when she founded Peckham Sponsors Refugees – was awarded Young Champion at the Community Sponsorship awards organised by Sponsor Refugees. The Imperial War Museum will display Peckham Sponsors Refugees’ leaflet as part of its exhibition, ‘Refugees: Forced to Flee’, which is due to open in April 2020.
Community sponsorship schemes are growing nationally and internationally as a locally driven response to the global refugee crisis. Everyone is welcome to join Peckham Sponsors Refugees on Wednesday 25th March at 7pm at Peckham Springs to learn more about community sponsorship and support the local group in creating a welcoming community for refugees in Peckham.
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