REFUGEE AND ASYLUM SEEKER SUPPORT
The St Paul's Refugee Fund supports refugees and asylum seekers, and we have an ongoing involvement with a group housed in a hostel for women and children in Hounslow who are waiting for a decision from the Home Office about whether they can stay in the UK or whether they will be sent back to the country they travelled from. While they are waiting, they are given accommodation but do not have access to benefits, or the right to work and receive a weekly subsistence allowance paid in the form of credit on a payment card that can be used at some, but not all, shops. We give a small amount of money every week to each adult in the hostel and have found that just that small amount of extra cash has come to be a meaningful way to support the ladies. As well as the money, a weekly drop-off has built a strong bond between our support fund and the women. They have told us repeatedly over the last year how much they value the fact that we are thinking of them and supporting them on a weekly basis. Some money has also gone on preparing and planting a small vegetable garden, and improving the play space for the children as well as funding a Christmas party at the hostel. The fund also donates money and supplies to West London Welcome, and to Refugees Welcome Hounslow.
This charity was set up by Rachel Tanner, Shelagh Allsop and other volunteers in 2017 to welcome Syrian families fleeing their homes as refugees, into our community. Since then, they have helped settle many households into our borough, who have enriched our communities. One family said: “I can't describe the support they gave us since we got to Britain. They were our brothers, our friends and family in our new country. They stood with us in all the hard situations and were the support for us in everything. My tongue cannot describe their dedication to us.” You can read a recent article in the Chiswick Calendar Refugee Welcome Hounslow here. https://chiswickcalendar.co.uk/refugees-welcome-hounslow-charity-run-by-chiswick-residents-shelagh-allsopp-and-rachel-tanner/
The contacts for refugee support at St Paul's are: Rachel Tanner (020 8742 8016)
You can find out more about the work of the St Paul's Refugee Fund by downloading a talk below by Rachel Tanner from January 2021.
If you would like to donate, the details are also below. Please use the reference REFUGEE FUND.
COMMUNITY AWARD WINNER
On Wednesday 6 October 2021, the One Hounslow Community Awards 2021 took place at Hounslow House and nine winners were selected from over 220 nominations from across Hounslow’s communities. We are very proud of Rachel Tanner and Shelagh Allsop who collected the Community Heart Award for Refugees Welcome Hounslow. The award was given in the "Making Hounslow Stronger" category for "the outstanding contribution to their local community, supporting neighbours, creating community spirit and strength." Refugees Welcome Hounslow was also the overall winner of the evening, taking home the One Hounslow Spirit Award. You can find put more at https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/OneHounslow-Awards
WAYS TO HELP
Jesus always directed his ministry towards the most marginalised, challenging us to overcome prejudice and self-interest in the way we respond to situations that we cannot ignore. Here are some suggestions about how you can help.
UNICEF are there on the ground reaching vulnerable children and families with essential life-saving supplies.
Donate to the Refugee Council who have been providing life-changing services to asylum seekers and refugees arriving the UK for 70 years. Their work includes Mental Health Support to heal the trauma of losing everything, Employment Assistance to restart lost careers and promote the skills that refugees bring, and English Language and Integration Classes to help people flourish in their new communities.
St Nicholas Church on Chiswick Mall runs a weekly meal scheme for asylum seekers and if you would like to volunteer with that, Cassandra Barker is your contact here.
Refugees at Home is a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. At present, they are only looking for hosting applications from those living in cities.
If you are a landlord, consider the advantages of renting a property to Hounslow Borough Council to house people under the VPRS. Guaranteed rent payments, no voids, no need to use an agency and a steady reliable and house-proud tenant. Talk to Rachel Tanner or Shelagh Allsop to find out more.
Stephanie White has become close friends with Maimuna Jawo, a woman from the Gambia who has been, in her own words “in the system” seeking UK asylum for the last 10 years. She was invited to speak at the opening of Refugee Week 2022 and Stephanie would like her words to reach as wide an audience as possible. You can watch her very powerful and moving ten-minute speech on YouTube here.
Some of our Syrian friends have made a short film about their experiences, which you can view here. Thanks to Rasha, Khales, Sanaa and Yanal for sharing their stories.
Another of our Syrian friends, Ghaith Qabbani, made a radio documentary about the group and the Syrian refugee experience. You can listen to See You Soon Syria, Hello London Mixdown here
THE MICROLOAN FOUNDATION
St Paul's has a strong connection with the Microloan Foundation, which was started by Peter Ryan at St Paul's in 2002. This charity helps some of the poorest women in the world feed their families, send their children to school, and pay for life saving medicines. By providing small loans (average £72) and ongoing business training and support, they help women in rural Malawi and Zambia to set up their own self-sustainable businesses; enabling them to work themselves and their families out of poverty. You can read about its work on the notice boards at the back of the church. The Microloan Foundation was recently visited by Christine Lagarde, the high-profile Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund who commented "I visited a group of women supported by the Microloan Foundation of Malawi and I was particularly inspired by their resilience and entrepreneurship." You can find out more at: www.microloanfoundation.org.uk.
EMBRACE THE MIDDLE EAST
St Paul's often chooses to support Embrace the Middle East as its Christmas charity. This organisation aims to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the region by partnering with local Christians who provide health, education and community development programmes. Find out more here
ST PAUL'S CHURCH
We are registered with the Charities Commission and our charity number is 1154708.