Churches Together
in Sydenham and Forest Hill

Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement
& Churches Together

31 May 2017 by Saira Bohan-Croft

Lewisham has committed to resettling 10 Syrian households and has appointed the charity SHP who is experienced in resettling Single Homeless Persons to take on the task.

Refugee families are drawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council lists of refugees. The UNHRC identifies people in need of resettlement based on a variety of criteria. Security checks are carried out by UNHRC and the UK Government before referral is accepted, prior to any arrival in the UK. The funding is done through the Home Office for the first 12 months.

Private landlords provide accommodation, while churches, mosques, individuals and others provide additional post-arrival services. We are currently seeking more accommodation and additional funds.

We had our first welcoming party for the first 3 families on Sunday 30 April 2017 at the Friends Meeting House, Forest Hill. It was a real success. The families and guests really appreciated the overwhelming feeling of love and welcome. Several officials spoke highly about the progress that have been made since the first meeting with the Mayor of Lewisham in the Autumn of 2015. A fourth family arrived on 31 May, and another 3 are expected at the end of July 2017. Each family has a dedicated Arabic speaking worker who receives them at the airport and makes sure they are settled in their new accommodation and know their neighbourhood. They help with a range of other necessary activities e.g. medical, educational, social and religious for a smooth transition from their camp to the UK.

We are planning a schedule of summer activities for all these families in Lewisham. Obviously some activities will be free but others will need to be paid for. We require additional funding as well as people to assist in other ways.

Churches Together and the funding of additional educational materials

I am very pleased to say that the educational materials that I bought with some of the funds raised at the last week of prayer have been well received. It is so heart warming to see the faces and joy of both the adults and children when I present them with a box of suitable learning materials, including soft toys, dual language story books, large charts, colouring books and pens and footballs, badminton and construction sets.

We continue to pray that these displaced and traumatised families will feel safe and settled in the UK, that they will be able to learn English and integrate into its culture.

To make this happen we are looking for suitable jobs for them. They have a 5 year Humanitarian visa which gives them the right to remain, work and live in the UK.

If you’d like to see current needs and donate goods or services you can do that here:

If you would like to make a monetary donation please contact us for details.

Saira Bohan-Croft
Churches Together Sydenham and Forest Hill