WHAT CAN OUR WEST DEVON COMMUNITY DO TO HELP SYRIAN REFUGEES ?
We first asked this question at the public meeting held at Tavistock Community College in February 2017. The immediate result was to form the group which is now called WEST DEVON SAFE HAVEN.
The group is working to help a small number of refugee families to settle in West Devon and become members of our community. This is all part of the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. This scheme supports and funds a small number of refugees who are considered most vulnerable to move directly to the UK, from UNHCR camps in Lebanon and Turkey.
WEST DEVON SAFE HAVEN is working with West Devon Borough Council to find suitable accommodation and then to help the families settle into their new home and so make their first months in West Devon as easy and welcoming as possible – not forgetting that most of our new families will have been through the horrifying experiences that we have all seen in the media. Four families have now arrived in West Devon.
We recognize that we can't affect the overall crisis, but we can at least offer a place of safety and new hope to a few families who have neither. Our aim is to support the families to be become independent members of our community.
Central Government provides much of the basic requirements for these new families when they arrive and we hope to provide some of the other things that are required to help their move as successful as possible and which may help make a new start less of a trauma, perhaps a television, children's bikes, toys, and toiletries. We will subsequently support the families with learning English, understanding our culture and community and helping to resolve the practical problems arising from moving to a totally new environment with only the clothes they stand up in. The aim is to support these refugees to become independent members of our community during their 5 year stay in the UK.
West Devon Safe Haven is now a registered charity.
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