Our aim is to maintain a welcoming atmosphere towards refugees resettling in the Malvern Hills area and to offer appropriate practical assistance and support to these families, who have fled violence and the horrors of war, in order that they live fulfilled lives free from poverty, discrimination and harassment.
We encourage their integration into living and working in the local community in order that they become independent as swiftly as is practicable.
Where we are now
There are now five families in Malvern – four Syrian and one Iraqi. Two of the families have been welcomed by Malvern Welcomes under the Home Office Community Sponsorship scheme and we are responsible for all aspects of their resettlement. In order to be accepted by the Home Office to resettle families we had to undergo a rigorous process and to raise a considerable sum of money.
The other three families are being resettled by Worcestershire County Council who have subcontracted the resettlement role to Refugee Action. We offer these families befriending and practical support as they all face a variety of challenges, such as health issues and adapting to life in the UK. It is not always easy for them and we help them as much as we can so that they can live independently.
All of the children are now in school. The adults attend English classes in Malvern twice a week. There is a vibrant atmosphere and lessons are great fun.
We work to raise awareness of current national campaigns by publicizing petitions and holding events locally. For example, in November we held a Candlelight Vigil for Refugee Children Everywhere, which was well-attended and attracted the interest of many people in Malvern.
With Malvern Hills Amnesty Group we organized a coach to take people to London to join the Refugees Welcome March.
Awareness – raising and education
We aim to nurture a welcoming environment for refugees who have fled war and persecution by raising awareness of the issues facing refugees. We believe that providing students and the general public with accurate information is the best way to counter the negative rhetoric that is often found in some sections of the media in the UK. Visiting schools is a vital part of this work. In 2016 we spoke to around 5,000 students in local schools. As a result of this, many schools held fund-raising events, and collections of essential items for refugees as well as organizing letter-writing activities and petitions.
‘You came to my college the other day to give a talk and I wanted to write to you thank you for being so eye opening. It made me realise how bad conditions were and how every little helps. Hopefully I will be looking into helping in some way.’ Student from local 6th form
We also give presentations to groups in the community including Women’s Institute and Scout and Beaver Groups.
We all sleep under the same stars – a collection of poems by eleven year olds about the refugee experience
These original poems were written by the very talented Year 6 children from Greenfield Primary School in Stourbridge.
They were inspired to write following a Letterpress Project event with Karen Argent about the experience of asylum seekers and refugees as expressed in several children’s books.
We guarantee that you will be impressed with the maturity and compassion of these young writers who have composed a range of creative work to be proud of.
Click here to see Refugee_Poems4.pdf