Refugees

The situation facing refugees and migrants continues to be a matter of huge global concern. While the issues are many and complex, the Diocese of Canterbury is committed to showing compassion to those forced to flee their countries as well as the communities they join.

Bishop Trevor has spoken of the need to look behind the headlines and remember the common humanity we share with all refugees and migrants:

“…it is easy to forget that behind each number, behind each percentage and quota are people.  Fragile human beings with hope and fears, many of which we could all identify.”

Urgent Donations for Refugee Camps in France

Svenja Powell is the refugee lead for Churches Together in Canterbury and she has kindly agreed to share her reflections on her recent visit to Dunkirk refugee camp available to all through our refugee page.

We also have an update from Svenja’s last visit to France with a more recent report, and an updated list of items needed.

Furthermore, Churches Together in Canterbury are working in partnership with The Salvation Army, Canterbury, to gather items needed in France, and are now also able  to take financial donations: Email  calais@canterburysa.co.uk for further information on both modes of solidarity.

Svenja adds that:

The majority of clothing needed is small and medium teenage/men’s clothing and men in the UK tend to be larger than that so it is quite difficult to get enough. Any money donations we get we tend to spend on this.

Our work

As a Diocese, we have been keen to develop a long-term and meaningful response to the issues surrounding refugees and migrants. After the initial response from churches which included the sending of clothing and goods to Calais, two areas of specific concern were identified in which the Diocese felt it could offer more sustainable assistance:

  • The support of refugees, migrants and young unaccompanied asylum seekers in Kent, as well as those organisations already working tirelessly in this area.
  • The support of those working in the camps on the North French coast, the people living within the camps, and communities surrounding them.

Refugee Projects Officer

Through a generously supported Advent Justice Campaign , which has so far raised over £65,000, the Diocese, in partnership with Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) and Migrant Help UK, has appointed a Refugee Projects Officer. As well as maintaining the relationships that have already been established with local organisations working with refugees, the Refugee Officer is responsible for identifying current and futures needs, sourcing and co-ordinating volunteers from within the parishes, and identifying venues where partners can deliver hospitality and training to refugees.

For more support and guidance, or to tell us about the work your church is doing on this matter, please contact: Domenica Pecoraro – Refugee Projects Officer on dpecoraro@diocant.org or the Communities and Partnerships Framework on 01227 459401. @diocantrefugee

Overseas

The Diocese is continuing to explore how it can support more permanently those living and working in the camps in France through the local churches there; discussions are currently taking place with the Anglican Diocese of Europe, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arras whose area of responsibility covers many of the places where camps are located, and with whom the Diocese has had a long-standing relationship.

Resources

We are aware that, across the parishes, people continue to want to respond with compassion to the plight of refugees. To help support this, the Diocese of Canterbury’s Communities and Partnerships Framework has compiled a regularly updated Refugee Toolkit which offers people five ways to respond: Act, Serve, Campaign and Advocate, Get Informed, and Pray.

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