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Can You Help Syrian Refugees?
By Geoff Hodgkinson, Co-Editor

June 20, 2017: When we first asked this question at the public meeting held at Tavistock Community College in February 2017, (writes Angus Doulton, Chair of West Devon Safe Haven) the immediate result was to form the group which is now called West Devon Safe Haven. The group is working towards helping a small number of refugee families to settle in West Devon and become members of our community. This is all part of the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. This scheme supports and funds a small number of refugees who are considered most vulnerable to move directly to the UK, from UNHCR camps in Lebanon and Turkey. West Devon Safe Haven is working with West Devon Borough Council to find suitable accommodation and then to help the families settle into their new home and so make their first months in West Devon as easy and welcoming as possible – not forgetting that most of our new families will have been through the horrifying experiences that we have all seen in the media. Two families will arrive in West Devon over the next two months, and a few more in the following months. We recognise that we can't affect the overall crisis, but we can at least offer a place of safety and new hope to a few families who have neither. Our aim is to support the families to be become independent members of our community. Central Government provides much of the basic requirements for these new families when they arrive and we hope to provide some of the other things that are required to help their move as successful as possible and which may help make a new start less of a trauma, perhaps a television, children's bikes, toys, and toiletries. We will subsequently support the families with learning English, understanding our culture and community and helping to resolve the practical problems arising from moving to a totally new environment with only the clothes they stand up in. The aim is to support these refugees to become independent members of our community during their 5 year stay in the UK. Our new families may arrive with next to nothing and we can’t guess what they will need before they arrive and so we have established a “Welcome Fund” to help provide the things they might need. West Devon Safe Haven is in the process of becoming formally registered as a charity. If you would like to support West Devon Safe Haven or ask for one of our pledge forms, please contact angusdoulton@gmail.com or phone 01822 841498

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