We’ve run a monthly Community Cafe for the past three years – a space for families to catch up with one another, share food and experiences about living in Cheltenham, and support new families joining them. It was the first thing we endeavoured to do as a new organisation, and it’s been the mainstay feature and defining idea behind all the work we do.
We always welcome new volunteers who can help out on the first Thursday of each month with general clear up, organising children’s games, and practising English with families. You need to be positive, motivated and consistent, keen on helping with the event from beginning to end.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved.
Our Education Group delivers assemblies and workshops to local primary and secondary schools, which give students in Cheltenham a preliminary overview of the refugee crisis and the issues involved. It’s a great way to introduce a current and important issue, and it’s communicated in a way that generates empathy and mutual understanding.
The Education team also works in coordination with Cheltenham Volunteer Teachers, who deliver supplementary English lessons and a mentorship program to help refugees settle more easily.
If you have teaching or presentation skills that might benefit this group, email email@example.com for more information about getting involved.
The Government resettlement scheme for Syrian families is presently due to end in the final months of 2020, and we’ve been working to find homes as soon as possible for larger families by liaising directly with homeowners in the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire area.
These families are brought into the UK from refugee camps, and undergo intense vetting processes to come to the UK to claim asylum. We want to help provide spacious and comfortable housing so that families aren’t separated or refused simply because they’re too large for council accommodation.
Letting out a property to a family is one of the greatest things you can do to directly help refugees. We’ve heard from people who have inherited property and want to use it for something meaningful that helps other families to grow. If you’re interested in long-term tenants who take pride in their homes, it can act as a good investment as well.
If you’d like to learn more about the process of letting out a house, please email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Building Group
Our Events and Communities team are the public face of CWR. We organise fun and inclusive events to serve both the Syrian families and the wider community. Our mission is to improve integration by simply helping people meet and hang out!
We further developed the Events and Communities team in 2018 to provide a more proactive and dynamic National Refugee Week program – including a storytelling night, a dance party, and a film screening, with the help of The Swan Cheltenham, The Sober Parrot, and the Scandinavian Coffee Pod. The Everyman Theatre kindly put on circus skills workshops during the half-term holiday for the families, as well as giving art workshops at our Summer Picnic.
For 2019, we increased our program to involve a cookery workshop and quiz night, as well as working with other local organisations and businesses including the Wilson Gallery and Waterstones to give wider promotion and venue access across Cheltenham. We also held an amazingly successful Eid party for the first time, with 100 attendees from over fourteen different countries!
If you’d like to get involved with the work of this team, please email Isabel at email@example.com for further details.
Media & Communications Group
Refugees and immigrants are increasingly being used in British media as scapegoats for societal problems. There has been a distinct rise in suspicion and open hatred towards outsiders, even though the vast majority of people coming here want only to contribute to their new homes, and enjoy lives of quiet comfort with their friends and families.
Our media work helps to protect refugees by challenging dangerous and untrue narratives around those who seek safety in our country, by reminding Britain that refugees are human beings deserving of dignity, and that we have a responsibility to welcome people coming to live in the UK.
We manage multiple social media channels to help shine light on the refugee crisis, and send regular newsletters to keep members informed of our work.
If you’d like to help contribute, please email Tabi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CWR sets a high standard for refugee engagement in Gloucestershire. The refugee crisis is an urgent issue, and it needs creativity and solidarity, so we’ve worked in a number of ways to closely support resettled families, and keep the subject on the local agenda so more action is taken on a wider scale to help them.
We’ve run a monthly Community Cafe for the past three years – a space for families to catch up with one another, share food and experiences about living in Cheltenham, and support new families joining them.
In 2017 for the snap general election, we lobbied every MP candidate to hear their views on the refugee crisis, and how they believe we should provide for resettled people in Cheltenham. We condensed our questions to five key queries, and got responses from everyone, confirming that refugee engagement should be treated as a high priority.
Our annual Refugee Week celebrations are going from strength to strength – in 2018 our Events and Communities Team arranged amazing events including a storytelling event, film screening, and traditional dabke dance night. This year we’re expanding our program to a cookery workshop and a quiz night, and collaborating with local bookshops to promote refugee-themed literature.
We’ve been interviewed on BBC Radio Gloucestershire with Anna King to dismantle myths about refugees, and show residents of Gloucestershire some of the amazing work being done in their local area. Check out our landlords feature on Soundcloud.
In certain ways, we’ve already made ourselves obsolete. Our Housing and Furnishing Team used to decorate and prepare houses for incoming families, until our resident families made the group decision that they wanted to take over this responsibility themselves to help welcome their new neighbours.
Our top priority now is to advocate for refugees to help them find the independence and autonomy they deserve, to find opportunities to flourish and connect with others, and to enjoy safety, comfort and personal fulfilment in their new homes.