THE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS - a Wirksworth response
All round the world countries are responding to the huge number of people fleeing a war-ravaged country by offering places of safety. This includes the UK Government - and now includes Wirksworth.
Two families have arrived in our town and their presence elicits from many people and groups a desire to help, to make them feel at home, to care for them, to befriend them - strangers as they are in a strange land.
We trust that through the work of many groups, individuals and churches these families will feel that they are 'home at last' after (sometimes) years in refugee camps in e.g. Jordan.
Wellspring has for a long time suported DRAC and still is a collecting point for donations of clothing etc as well as fund-raising. Churches Together in Wirksworth and District (CTWD) is becoming involved too and there are other groups who want to help.
Plans to help these people settle in are at an early stage and things are evolving all the time. But for the moment the pattern is as below.
To this end an informal group has been set up as a Core group which currently comprises two members of Amnesty International and two members of CTWD/Wellspring. The membership of this group might well change over the next few months, but it is important to have some degree of coordination of the generous offers of help that have been coming in.
The main focus is to try to find ways of working that fit with what we can offer, with what the families need - and with the work of Derby-based organisations who are responsble for the more formal arrangements that need to be set up so that the Syrians can access banks, medical services and shops.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The channel for getting financial donations to these families is through the CTWD Treasurer (Mike Weaver). He will hold any monies and release payments for a variety of needs when the Core Group request them.
Contact him via 07474 119574.
Tell the current Core Group Chair (Alison Ledbury) if you have gifts of items for the families. She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps the most important gift we can bring is time. Time to befriend, to spend time with them, to drive them to appointments in Ashbourne, Wirksworth - or even Derby. These offers should also be channelled through Alison who will then let others know.
(By the way, the Google Translate app is wonderful!)
The reason for this careful 'take-it-steady' approach is that there is a risk of these Syrians being over-welcomed and confused by so many generous acts and offers. We do not want people to feel that their gifting is not wanted; on the contrary, the families can do with so much help (put yourselves in their shoes). It's just that there needs to be some degree of coordination so that things don't become a bit chaotic.
This information is being placed on Wellspring's website for the time being, but the welcome we give to the families is not the prerogative of churches. So please - do not feel that it's a churchy-thing; caring is human.