Welcoming refugees

Cathy Merry writes – For some 8 years now, I have visited detainees being held at the Gatwick immigration removal centres where I have heard many disturbing stories at first hand from asylum seekers who have come to seek refuge here. As a visitor for the Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group, www.gdwg.org.uk , I visit detainees from many different countries to offer a listening ear and some limited practical help such as items of clothing or a top-up phone voucher. Men’s casual clothes for detainees such as sweatshirts, trainers or jogging bottoms in good condition are always appreciated and can be left, labelled, for me in the church porch.
Refugees Welcome Crawley was formed a year ago, under the umbrella movement of Citizens UK, in response to the refugee crisis emerging in 2016, and offers support to refugees and asylum seekers living in our local area including Syrian families resettled through the UK government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme. Befrienders such as myself offer whatever help is needed including English practice at a weekly ‘Talk Club’ or practical support such as groceries for asylum seekers living with friends or household items for individuals granted refugee status. The response from our local community to recent requests including one for woollen hats for refugees in Greek camps and another for packed shoeboxes for Syrian refugee children has been heart-warming . Thank you on behalf of all who continue to receive your help. To find out more or offer your support, please contact Cathy at merrycat1@gmail.com or follow Refugees Welcome Crawley on facebook.