Personal encounter and building friendships is often much more effective at teaching us new understanding than learning knowledge.
As refugee numbers are increasing in Scotland, and people are being settled all across the country, many people who are supportive of refugees would like the chance to offer their own support by volunteering or making friends to new neighbours.
There are also opportunities for people to help with humanitarian relief and support in refugee camps in places such as the Greek islands, Italy or Calais.
If you would like to meet refugees, find out about projects including:
Support for learning English – Amnesty Scotland
Cup of tea with a refugee – Scottish Refugee Council
Visit detainees in Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre – Scottish Detainee Visitors
Room for Refugees hosting scheme – Positive Action
In 2016 the UK Home Office launched a new programme whereby community groups can be involved in the ‘sponsorship’ of refugees from Syria – helping to cover some of the costs of their resettlement as well as being involved in their welcome and integration.
In Scotland all local authorities are receiving refugees directly and so it is recommended that faith groups consider first how they can work with all newly arrive refugees. If your group is already working with refugees and would like to find out more about community sponsorship, please contact us for more information