Support for refugees

Tower Hamlets Council is urging residents to consider what support they could offer to refugees, including those from Syria in response to the humanitarian crisis.

Large numbers of people have undertaken hazardous and lengthy journeys, and many have lost their lives, trying to reach a safe haven in Europe.

At a full council meeting on September 16, 2015 Mayor John Biggs introduced an emergency motion which stated that Britain and other countries had a moral duty to provide a sanctuary for those who are forced to flee their homes.

Mayor Biggs said: “The plight of desperate refugees fleeing for their lives continues to dominate the news – and with good reason.

“I would urge Tower Hamlets residents to consider supporting a charity that is working to provide safe housing, food or medical supplies to the affected refugees.  Many desperately need help and resources to continue their work.  “

The Prime Minister announced that the UK will resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. This is part of the UK’s response to the refugee crisis that has unfolded as the conflict in Syria continues and displaces more people.

The Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government are working with local authorities to put in place plans to house and support Syrian refugees.

Leaders of all political groups in Tower Hamlets have asked the Prime Minister to make sufficient resources available for local authorities to provide support for refugees without adversely affecting services for existing residents.

The council is working with Refugees Welcome in Tower Hamlets to identify landlords willing to resettle Syrian refugees. If you are a landlord and are interested in finding out more about the resettlement programme, please email threfugees@gmail.com.

 

Council support for refugees and migrants:

The council has established a New Residents and Refugee Forum (NRRF) to:

  • better understand the challenges and issues faced by refugees and migrants in Tower Hamlets
  • hear from local organisations about their experience of engaging with new community members in the borough
  • find ways to identify and respond to the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants and refugees

The forum has:

  • given guidance to General Practice (GP) surgeries about migrants and refugees entitlements to primary healthcare
  • introduced staff who speak a variety of languages to schools, supporting children and parents who have just arrived to the UK
  • ensured that the needs of new communities are considered by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)
  • Made recommendations for changes to the Tower Hamlets Children and Families strategic plan to take account of the needs of new migrant and refugee families

Ways that residents can offer support:

The council is working with Refugees Welcome in Tower Hamlets.  The group is part of the national #RefugeesWelcome movement, and is working alongside the New Residents and Refugees Forum to support the response of local institutions, community groups and charities. If you would like to join or find out more about Refugees Welcome in Tower Hamlets, please email threfugees@gmail.com.

You can make a donation to a humanitarian organisation or charity that provides support to refugees.

Praxis provides advice and casework to around 1,200 people with migrant backgrounds in Tower Hamlets helping resolve problems with immigration, housing and homeless and welfare benefits.  It organises community groups to provide activities and support to unaccompanied young migrants, to trafficked women, and to young mothers experiencing problems related to their immigration status.

Tower Hamlets also has a number of organisations across the borough that work with particular communities, such as the Chinese Association of Tower Hamlets, Ocean Somali Community Association, or those who include activities for migrants as part of their services such as St Hilda’s Community Centre and Heba Women’s Project.

National and international organisations that provide support services to refugees include:

  • British Red Cross Appeal
  • Oxfam
  • Save the Children’s Child Refugee Crisis Appeal
  • UNHCR’s Emergency Appeal
  • UNICEF
  • The World Food Programme
  • Refugee Action’s Emergency Appeal
  • Medecins Sans Frontieres
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Refugee Council

You can also call the Red Cross’s dedicated phone line on 0800 107 8727 if you would like to discuss what you can do to help.