The event was held at Louth Methodist Church on June 19, supported by national guest speakers such as Dr Russell Rook and Pastor Stuart Keir, and regional organisations including the Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project and the Greater Lincolnshire Area of Sanctuary.
Those in attendance were asked to support, practically and financially, a vision to welcome a vulnerable Syrian family, currently living in a UNHCR camp in the Middle East, to resettle and integrate in the Louth area.
This would be achieved through ‘Community Sponsorship’, which was launched by the Home Office in 2016 in response to the government’s commitment to welcome 20,000 Syrian refugees to the United Kingdom.
The scheme enables community groups such as charities, faith groups, churches and businesses to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees.
Louth Churches For Refugees (LCfR) are working with ‘Church Response for Refugees’ and ‘Reset: Communities and Refugees’ to prepare a resettlement plan and apply to become Community Sponsors.
The event last month featured presentations on the history of the Syrian refugee crisis and films sharing the stories of resettled families. The evening ended with members of the public asking questions to a panel formed of speakers and LCfR volunteers.
Following the event, Kate Michell from Greater Lincolnshire Area of Sanctuary said: “We really enjoyed the meeting last night, with interesting speakers and information and wish LCfR well in their work to sponsor a Syrian family.
“The Area of Sanctuary has provided sanctuary breaks to over 40 refugees in our own homes, around Louth, during the past two years, and can say that our guests have only met with warmth and welcome from the local community”.
LCfR Secretary Jane Fletcher encouraged people to help - and by the end of the evening, people had come forward with offers of website management, marketing, childcare, furniture, English language support, housing, safeguarding and more.
In addition, many people pledged monthly donation, LCfR’s hope is that 125 people will commit financially to reach their £15,000 target.
• Visit louthchurchesforrefugees.org.uk or the Louth Churches for Refugees Facebook page to find out more.