October meeting - what you missed

TWR was set up a year ago, and has made a really positive start. We have been working with our local council to support Syrian refugee families in the area, teaching English to small numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, and working with several local schools to increase understanding of what it means to be a refugee. In Refugee Week, we hosted a colourful event right in the centre of Tonbridge, and we also ran a poetry and poster competition for under-18s, whose inspiring entries have been on display in the library all summer long.

There is so much more we could do, however. As we move into our second year, we would like – with your help – to expand the support services we can offer to refugees and asylum seekers trying to rebuild their lives in our communities. We need help with the following projects:

  • Welcoming Syrian families. Our borough council has promised to house ten Syrian families over the next few years, and we are working closely with them to support these families as they arrive. One of our main challenges is identifying houses: we need to find properties available to rent on the private market, which means finding landlords willing to rent to refugees. We would welcome any help thinking of effective ways to reach out to landlords, as well as with providing a warm community welcome to families once they are here.
  •  A mentoring scheme: We are in the process of setting up a scheme that will provide unaccompanied asylum seeking children in our area with a mentor, to support them as they adapt to life in a new country. We would love to hear from you if you are interested in mentoring.
  • A teaching programme: We are hoping to start a regular class teaching English to refugees and asylum seekers in our area. We are looking for teachers and other support staff to get this programme up and running.
  • Community outreach: We would like to continue with, and improve upon, our community outreach,  thinking of new ways to engage with our local communities. We would like to continue working with schools, and also to reach out to local businesses and civil society to see how they might get involved in helping support refugees.
  • Fundraising/Event planning: While our organisation is entirely voluntary, we do of course need funds to keep our projects going. We would love some help planning innovative ways to raise funds, and to plan some fun events along the way. 

If you would like to be involved in any of these projects, please let us know by emailing info@tonbridgewelcomesrefugees.co.uk.

While we welcome any specialist skills – be it experience teaching, or working with young people – we also welcome anyone with a bit of enthusiasm and time. We also welcome offers of help with administrative tasks, and any more general support – be it sharing a Facebook post, or turning up to support our events. 

Thank you