Peckham Sponsors Refugees has submitted their application to the UK Home Office to welcome a refugee family into the local community, writes Clara Gaspar…
Peckham Sponsors Refugees (PSR) has been supported by around 100 locals and have worked with great determination since January to prepare for the arrival of the family, who are fleeing conflict and devastation in Syria.
They have raised over £16,000 and had to ensure they had enough to pay for at least two years rent.
The group will meet with a Home Office representative in the next few weeks to seek pre-approval. The family is expected to arrive in the community early in 2019.
Tim Finch, a local resident and founding director of Sponsor Refugees, said the application is “the most thorough and comprehensive” that he has seen.
Despite facing challenges finding suitable accommodation, the group has managed to source a six bedroom home, which could house two small families or one large family. They have also raised funds to help support the refugees when they arrive, by hosting a charity quiz, picnic and a cinema night.
Massive thank you to everyone who came to the quiz last night and congratulations to the winners! Amazing to see so many people there excited to help Refugees!! #communitysponsorship #Peckham pic.twitter.com/yJ3m7ilRKY
— Peckham Sponsors Refugees (@PeckhamSponsors) April 25, 2018
In order to aid the family’s assimilation, the group has drawn up a safeguarding and resettlement plan for the family as well as sourcing an Arabic translator and researching educational and support services for their arrival.
Over the next few months, the Home Office will complete final checks to ensure the community is ready to house the family.
The family will be chosen by The Home Office from a refugee camp in Jordan or Lebanon, out of those that have applied to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to be resettled to another country.
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 six 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 practical support for the family, from setting up a bank account to help with finding school places for children.
At the time of writing, Peckham Sponsors Refugees has raised £ 16,076.37 out of their £20,000.00 target and the fundraising team will continue to host events over the next few months to raise money to support the family.