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How the community is supporting refugees

We have an active and engaged voluntary and community sector willing to support the integration of refugee families who have resettled in the borough. Offers of support and donations from the local community are coordinated by us, our provider the Refugee Council and community group Lewisham Refugee Welcome to best meet the needs of the families.

Resettling families

Their work includes:

  • liaising with landlords before the arrival of a family

  • meeting and greeting refugees as they arrive at airports

  • supporting families with translation and access to English language lessons

  • ensuring families are registered with services such as GPs, job centres, schools

  • signposting families to appropriate education, employment and other integration services.

We meet the Refugee Council and other local agencies regularly to discuss our support for the resettled families. This includes considering their progress in English language, any health need or disabilities, education and employment opportunities, and opportunities for involvement in voluntary work and community activities.

Volunteers

There are lots of ways to get involved with the programme. You can get in touch with the resettlement team by emailing SVPR@lewisham.gov.uk if you want to:

  • find out how to get involved
  • register as a volunteer with the Refugee Council
  • get in touch with Lewisham Refugee Welcome.

Properties

We've reached out to landlords who can provide safety and protection for these vulnerable people by letting properties that have not been otherwise available in Lewisham. These are all privately owned homes, meaning local families who are waiting for social housing are unaffected.

The Diocese of Southwark has offered a refugee family housing in an unused vicarage.

Atlantic Lettings, have also provided properties for refugee families.

All properties are rented at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate and we ask for tenancies of at least two years to provide families with some housing security. You can check current LHA rates online. Properties need to be furnished, and we can support with this using funding provided by the Home Office for each family. If you think you could rent to a refugee, we would love to hear from you – please get in touch at SVPR@lewisham.gov.uk.