WITH the first few Syrian refugee families due to arrive at the end of June, some 70 residents and speakers converged at St Andrew’s Parish Church in Barnt Green to learn more about the resettlement process.
The day’s programme was organised under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme and speakers touched on several different facets of the situation and provided a response to the mixed opinions towards the arrival of refugees.
A total of five Syrian refugee families are expected in June and July – three in Redditch and two in Kidderminster.
At the event, Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcomes Refugees (BRWR) member Janet King interviewed Eritrean refugee Joseph Amanuel who has now been granted indefinite stay in the UK after fleeing persecution in his country.
Professor Jenny Phillimore – Director of the Institute for Research into Super-diversity (IRiS), spoke about the different threats refugees faced from organisations such as ISIS and the political situations they have no control over.
Yvonne Rendell and Ruth Forecast, chairs of BRWR and Malvern Welcomes respectively, spoke about fund-raising and learning about the Syrian culture and language.
Expert speakers also included Julie Kashirahamwe, national resettlement manager of Refugee Action, which has been selected by Worcestershire County Council to work with the Syrian families – and Derek Allen of Bromsgrove and Redditch councils, who is working with local private landlords to provide suitable accommodation.
Local poet Spoz delivered the last word with a poem about his experience at the French camps.
Search for ‘Spoz Valentine’s Day in the Jungle’ on YouTube to see him perform it.