The Rural Refugee Network (RRN) is a local volunteer-led and run charity that sources housing so it can help bring refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries to the UK. Once here RRN helps families settle into their communities and provides support to get those able to, into the workplace through advice and grants.
This December will see the last arrivals enter the UK under the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Scheme. Whilst the scheme ends in 2020 no new families will be allowed to enter under this scheme after December 2019 and there are currently no plans for a replacement scheme. This means time is fast running out to help so RRN is urgently looking for landlords so together we can rescue more people from the camps around Syria.
Unfortunately all charities, including the United Nations refugee agency (the UNHCR), agree that Syria is not currently a safe or viable place for these vulnerable families to return to and won’t be for some time.
The eleven families RRN has helped to date have been brought to safety from absolutely dire conditions only because of the incredible kindness and generousity of private landlords in the local area. Properties throughout Hampshire and West Sussex are needed and landlords do get guaranteed rent at the local authority housing rates. Any size property can be considered currently and the requirements are that the property has it’s own front door and is within walking distance of transport links and ideally not far from a school and doctors surgery. Properties need to be available for at least 1 year and ideally 2 or longer.
The RRN is able to help landlords make houses ready for the new arrivals through the provision of a grant for any minor works that need to be carried out before arrival and by working with local authorities to fully furnish the houses.
If you know anyone at all who might be willing to offer a house for the use of refugees then please do get in touch by emailing [email protected] or by calling Julia Thistleton-Smith on 07971 660 590.
You can also help by asking your local school or church or any other group or local event if they would welcome a visit from an RRN speaker and/or one of our newly arrived refugees to give a short and inspiring talk in an assembly or meeting or by joining our team of incredible volunteers.