The refugee crisis is not going away, more people are displaced and more aid is needed, individuals and their families are still attempting to make sea crossings to get to safety. The Syrian conflict has had a devastating effect on the world and it is up to us to ensure that those who are the innocent victims of conflict know that the rest of the world support them and love them. However, Syria is not the only country that has seen a mass exodus of people feeling due to persecution or conflict. Plymouth is a dispersal city and is home to many refugees from different countries, not only under the government Syrian resettlement scheme. We have families and individuals from – Eritrea, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Libya.
OHOB have been sending aid and raising awareness about the refugee crisis since October 2015 and as a group we have grown, we have many supporters in and around the South West and the rest of the UK. We work with other groups not only in the UK but with groups and volunteers in Greece and France to get aid to the places of need.
We are collecting for our 5th Aid Container. Aid is desperately needed in the islands and across mainland Greece, together with Facebook groups across Devon and Cornwall we are in the process of collecting and filling the container. The plight of the refugees in Greece is so tragic and they need our help. We aim to send the container during August. If you can help please get in touch. How and what to donate can be found on our site, together with a list of donation points across Devon and Cornwall.
There is power that ignites when we all come together to to be heard and support change, it is clear we can achieve so much more when we all work together. We can have an impact on designing and creating a better world for future generations, we can rewrite history and support social change.
So, please help as much as you can, together we can achieve so much more.
Updates from groups across the South West
Despite the tragic nature of the refugee crisis it has seen a mobilisation of many people across the world, who have come together. There are many groups and individuals across the South West who are doing some amazing work and supporting refugees and resettling Syrian families here in the South West. Together we are achieving great things….
A group in Tavistock who are currently establishing WEST DEVON SAFE HAVEN as a charity, which aims to first help to find accommodation for refugees and then help them to integrate fully into the community and support this with education and information for the community, which will help support integration on both sides.
The first two Syrian families to be settled in Tavistock have arrived, via the government scheme. The team of people who are coordinating and supporting the families are trained, have accreditation and are ready and willing to help. Tavistock are aiming to welcome two more families by Christmas.
Ottery St Mary:
The Ottery Refugee Response group have supported the resettlement of two Syrian families both financially and practically, providing things like bikes, phones and household items. The first resettled family has attended a number of social and fundraising events. They are also supporting ABIDE in Ottery, which is a Community Sponsorship charity based on the church in Ottery. ABIDE has just received Home Office approval and a Syrian family should be settled by them in Ottery St Mary in September 2017.
Awareness raising and spotlight on Syria – An event was held in Ottery St Mary with Syrian guest speakers Alaa Kataab and Baraa Kouja speaking respectively on the history and culture of Syria and the refugee experience. Representatives from local refugee support organisations also spoke briefly and there was an entertaining quiz on Syria. Syrian food was served to the sound of Syrian music. About 70 people attended, including the Syrian refugee family living in Sidmouth, and the feedback on the event was very positive.
The group have ongoing collections at our collection point – RIO (Recycling in Ottery), including collection campaigns for OHOB and RAFT
Bude Refugee Support Group (Facebook Page- Bude Welcomes Refugees – https://www.facebook.com/budewelcomesrefugees/ has been working on two fronts for the past couple of years. Regular monthly collections of items requested by refugee workers in Syria and Europe have generated many carloads of donations delivered to collection centres both in Wadebridge Cornish Refugee Aid and at the main storage unit in Saltash for OHOB. Another team has battled with government bureaucracy and raised over £20,000 to bring a Syrian family to Bude (they are settling in very well), and is now fundraising to bring a second family in the near future.
LAUNCESTON REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP, are applying for Charitable Status, all the necessary officers have been appointed (Chair: Frances Tippett; Vice-Chair: Roger Creagh-Osborne; Secretary: Bill Glen; Treasurer: Janet Rogerson. As a group they are continuing to encourage local people to donate needed items to be sent to refugees stranded in Northern France and elsewhere: Rob Butler is our main coordinator on this and we also have a weekly collection point in the town centre. They have some wonderful fundraising events planned starting in the autumn e.g. a music event and film night, plus fixtures such as:
- Wine & Wisdom v Beer & Brains quiz night Friday 27th October 7.30pm in the White Hart in Launceston.
- Christmas wreath making at Frances’ home. £25 per head includes lunch & all materials. 20 people maximum. Friday 12th December.
We have the offer of some possible accommodation plus business space for the family in due course and they have an aim is to raise the £15000 necessary to be able to welcome a family – we hope – in spring 2018. http://lrsg.org.uk