Diocese appoints new Refugee Officer

Domenica Pecoraro appointed to new post of Kent Refugee Projects Officer. Church Times interview.2 June 2016

Diocese appoints new Refugee Officer

  • Partnership with Migrant Help and Kent Refugee Action Network
  • New role funded by donations from churches

The Diocese of Canterbury is delighted to announce the appointment of Domenica Pecoraro to the newly created post of Kent Refugee Projects Officer. The position has been developed in partnership Migrant Help UK and Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), two leading organisations working with migrants and refugees nationally and in Kent. It embeds engagement with the complex issues related to refugees and migrants in Kent permanently into the life and work of the Diocese.

The post has been largely funded by donations from churches to the Bishop’s Advent Justice Appeal which has so far raised over £61,000. An extra £2,000 is expected from the collection taken at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent Your Kingdom Come worship and prayer event held at Canterbury Cathedral. It is still possible to donate to the Appeal online here, by text message (text BTAA65 and the amount to 70070) or by cheque, made payable to CDBF, with “Justice Appeal” written on the back and sent to Advent Justice Appeal, Diocesan House, Lady Wootton’s Green, Canterbury, CT1 1NQ.

The aim of the Refugee Projects Officer role is to help maintain the relationships that have already been made by the Diocese with local and national organisations working with refugees, as well as seeking out and developing new partnerships. The officer will also help source and connect volunteers from within the parishes to refugee projects, and identify venues where partners can deliver hospitality and training to refugees.

Domenica has extensive experience as a Senior Projects Officer at an educational resource centre for Bangladeshi female migrants in London. She is currently completing a master’s degree in Social Research Methods at the University of Kent and will be taking up her new position in the summer.

Domenica said she was very excited about the role and is looking forward to getting started:

“I am delighted to be working for the Diocese in this challenging but vital area of social need.  Refugees face many difficulties when they arrive in a country: uncertainty about their futures, the challenge of a new language, different social norms, and lack of contact with their families. With the support of our partners, I hope to help raise awareness of that experience with others, so that we can begin to challenge indifference towards migrants, as well as establish how we as a Diocese can better facilitate those already working with refugees in the community.”

The Rt. Reverend Trevor Willmott, the Bishop of Dover, said that the appointment was very welcome:

“The appointment of Domenica to this role is good news indeed as she brings with her much experience and knowledge of working with migrants and their host communities, and a genuine compassion for their situations.

“I would like to thank everyone within the parishes and beyond whose contributions have made this appointment possible. It affords us the opportunity to make a real difference to those vulnerable children and adults who arrive in Kent disorientated and dehumanised, by helping us move beyond well-meaning short term fixes, towards something more intentional and sustained.”

Ann Whitbourn, Chair of KRAN, added: “We welcome Domenica into the role and look forward to developing partnerships with the Diocese to help the refugees arriving in our community to feel safe, belong and build hope for a better future.”

John Powell OBE, Director of National Operations at Migrant Help UK, said: “We are delighted to be able to assist in creating a vital role within the Diocese. The team in Canterbury works tirelessly in partnership with charities such as ourselves on what are vitally important projects. This post will provide valuable additional support to all of us who help migrants and we look forward to working with Domenica.”

The Diocese is also exploring how it can support the migrants and volunteers based in camps along the northern French coast through the local churches in the area. Discussions are currently taking place with the Anglican Diocese of Europe and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arras, with whom Canterbury Diocese has had a long friendship.

ENDS

Photo shows:

Domenica Pecoraro, the Diocese of Canterbury’s new Refugee Projects Officer.