Wanstead volunteers welcoming refugee family through community sponsorship scheme
PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:11 10 March 2020
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Volunteers in Wanstead are raising money to help re-settle a refugee family made homeless by the war in Syria.
Refugee Welcome Wanstead (RWW) was established by volunteers from five parishes in and around Wanstead that came together after seeing the devastating scenes over the past nine years of families left homeless as a result of the Syrian civil war.
RWW decided to take advantage of the Home Office's Community Sponsorship Scheme, where a community group can raise money to help sponsor and support a refugee family.
If successful the group will receive help from the Home Office but it needs to raise ££9,000 to help resettle the family and get their house ready.
Father Gareth Jones, refugee co-ordinator in Essex and east London for the Diocese of Chelmsford, is helping to organise the Wanstead project, alongside one in Newham.
The current projects come after the diocese successfully brought over a refugee family to Dagenham last year.
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Fr Jones said the projects are 'all about giving new hope to the world's most vulnerable people who are fleeing some of the most horrendous situations'.
He said the local community group creates a 'ring of steel' around the family to give them the best chance of successfully integrating.
The community sponsorship scheme aims to transform the lives of both the family and volunteers and serves as a practical way for people to get involved at a grassroots level.
Volunteer Eleanor Taylor said: 'It takes a community to welcome a family, and we know Wanstead can rise to the challenge.'
The volunteers from the parish came together from St Mary's Woodford, Wanstead Parish, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Gabriel's and St Peter's in the Forest.
The scheme also provides a safe and legal route for refugees to come to the UK and improves their chances to settle in, learn English and find work through the help of the group which sponsors them.
RWW is hoping to raise a minimum of £5,000 to help get the project off the ground and contribute to housing, which is the single most expensive cost of resettling a family.
To contribute to the crowdfunder visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/wanstead