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Kingston Council welcomes new refugee group to help resettle vulnerable refugees

Sukkot

Leader of Kingston Council, Councillor Liz Green, has praised the launch of a new refugee welcome group in Kingston to help new families settle in the borough.

The group, set up by Rabbi Janet Darley and the Kingston Liberal Synagogue, was launched at a Sukkot event on Wednesday 26 September in Kingston town centre. It is is based on a similar and successful model in Lambeth which will provide befriending services, offer volunteering and employment opportunities, as well as assist with their wider integration in Kingston.

Rabbi Darley, member of the Kingston Liberal Synagogue, said: 

“The Jewish festival of Sukkot, with its construction of flimsy shelters without proper walls or a proper roof, is meant to remind us of the time our Israelite ancestors were refugees and that our current comfort is not something to be taken for granted. It is therefore the perfect time to think about welcoming some of today's refugees.

“On a Sukkot three years ago, Kingston Council agreed to resettle 50 refugees. Kingston Liberal Synagogue and other local faith groups want to take this opportunity to thank Kingston for the people brought to safety so far and to ask them to keep going with our help.

“This year also marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the Kindertransport which allowed 10,000, mostly Jewish, children to come to safety here, and we hope that the welcome to refugees in Kingston can also be extended to vulnerable children.”

Kingston’s Leader met with members from various faith groups earlier this month, to thank faith leaders for their support and help with the council’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS).

Councillor Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council, said: 

“Kingston is a cohesive borough with people from different backgrounds and communities. The council has committed to bring 50 Syrian refugees, directly from the Middle East, to be relocated and housed in our borough. So far, 33 individuals (9 families) have been resettled in the borough through the scheme, and the refugee welcome group being set up by members of the interfaith community will support their integration and is most welcomed.”

The Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) supports the resettlement of refugees who have fled war zones, many of whom have experienced traumas such as torture, the deaths of loved ones and the loss of everything they own.

Earlier this year, the Kingston Community Refugee Sponsorship (KCRS) organisation was  launched, which aims to resettle refugees with support from local groups. The Community Sponsorship scheme is different to the current VPRS, as community groups themselves come up with the funding, accommodation, integration plan and support for the refugee family.  To learn more about the scheme visit: www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200183/housing_homeowners_and_renting/1211/housing_syrian_refugees