A hundred refugee families will be moving to Lewisham this year following the declaration by the council that it would be a “sanctuary” to those in need.
The decision by Lewisham Council has coincided with the start of Refugee Week. And, was one of the promises put forward by new Mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan and Lewisham Labour’s manifesto, following the success of last year’s refugee resettlement programme, where they resettled 15 refugees of Syrian and Iraqi nationality.
The resettlement programme includes rehoming families, helping children into schools, finding work for the adults and free English classes.
Currently, the council are looking for any businesses that may be able to offer training and job opportunities in the area.
The council has also been working in conjunction with local voluntary organizations to help refugees in the area find the support and services they need. These organizations include the local Amnesty International branch, the housing and homeless charity SHP, the Lewisham branch of Citizen UK and the recently awarded Afghanistan and Central Asian Association who were given the Queen’s award for their work with refugees.
Councillor Kevin Bonavia, cabinet member for democracy, refugees and accountability said: “We are a borough that’s stronger for welcoming residents from all corners of the globe and the message is clear – refugees are welcome in Lewisham.”
The most recent data by the Refugee Council shows that by the end of 2017, there was an estimated number of 7,175 asylum seekers living in the UK. Many of these are still in need of housing, jobs and education, as the programme aims to tackle.
Last year’s resettlement programme was met with an outpouring of support in the Lewisham area,with restaurants offering free meals residents offering their homes and making donations of household items and clothes.
For more details on Refugee Week, follow this link: http://refugeeweek.org.uk.
Read the stories of three refugees helped by a Lewisham charity here.