Celebrating 10 Refugee Families

Rev. Dave with Khales, an elderly Syrian refugee who has been in London for 14 months.
Our hearts are often stirred when we hear news of international conflicts and we often want to respond in practical and tangible ways. Sending money is often a helpful way to show charity but a group of Hounslow residents has shown that there is much that can be done on our ‘home turf’ as well. 

Back in 2017, our local council pledged to take 10 Syrian Families into the borough via the UN refugee settlement scheme and local residents got together to offer support to the council. Initially, this was led by our very own Rev. Tom Gillum through the Hounslow Friends of Faith group. But since Tom’s departure to Nottingham, the group have organised and called themselves Refugee Welcome Hounslow. This month, they celebrated welcoming the 10th Syrian family into Hounslow and even managed to find an extra property to welcome an 11th household. This is an astonishing feat in such a short space of time, the result of an excellent partnership between the Council and local residents. 

St John and St Mary’s want to continue to be involved and support this scheme in any way we can. On Sunday January 19th, we hosted the first RWH bring and share lunch. This was a chance for the families to get to know each other, speak their own language, and share some stories. There were spontaneous speeches of gratitude, plenty of delicious food, and some games for the children to play. It was a very special afternoon seeing smiles on faces of people who also likely have plenty of reason to cry. Our hall seems to be a good location so they are already looking to book it for another date in the Spring. 

You can follow Refugee Welcome Hounslow on Facebook to find out more about how you can help. This is their latest post: 

An update and call for help for the tenth and last household that arrived this past week: we kindly request bicycles and a tablet, Kindle, or similar, plus some toys and books, for two boys aged 9 and 4.The family has enough clothes and furniture but would dearly welcome any cash donations to allow purchase of additional household items.Please do get in touch with us if you can help. 

You can email refugeeswelcomehounslow@gmail.com to offer your help and support. 

Rachel Maclure