Welcome Syrian Families is a community group working to help a refugee family make their home in North West London.
“We saw the images of devastation and conflict in Syria, and felt quite strongly that we wanted to do something to help. People’s lives, and their children’s lives have been turned upside down by the situation there” Emily, Founder
Hampstead is an area with a long and proud history of helping migrants fleeing from adversity and we at WSF are following in that tradition.
Launched by local residents to help resettle refugees from the devastating conflict in Syria, we were able to muster funds and goodwill and have recently welcomed a family of four to our neighbourhood.
This has been made possible through the government’s Community Sponsorship programme.
It’s a scheme that allows community groups to look after refugee families when they first arrive in the UK, taking the burden off local councils and ensuring no refugee is a stranger when they arrive.
But there’s a rigorous application process to go through first. Community sponsors need to show that they can facilitate everything from affordable housing to English classes and places in local schools. So WSF has built a team of volunteer ‘befrienders’ to support the family through the practical, social and emotional challenges of their new lives in London.
WSF is affiliated with one of the most experienced organisations in the country to make this happen – the community action charity, Citizens UK. Citizens UK has already helped several groups bring over refugee families under Community Sponsorship.
Some of our members
Dr Victoria Holt – Vic has over 30 years experience as a GP in North London and has worked with refugees and vulnerable people.
Michele Martin – After a long career as a journalist, Michele has worked with several refugee organisations including the Holy Cross Centre Trust.
Mehreen Saigol – Having seen the refugee camps at first hand in Lebanon, she is keen to help those the government has agreed to settle in the UK make the best of their new lives in London.
Jessica Simor QC – Jessica is a leading human rights and public law barrister.
Rebecca Sears – Becca has been a primary school teacher for the last 15 years and is interested in Safeguarding issues.
Lawrence Stolzenberg – Now retired from business, Lawrence runs a charity which works predominantly with asylum seekers and refugees.
Emily Woof – An author published by Faber, and actor, Emily’s work is concerned with how we live, and the choices we make. Emily was the driving force in launching our group as Community Sponsors.
Stephen Taylor – A computer programmer and supporter of neighbourliness.