‘Restore’ welcomes a new staff member

Josh Smith has joined the ‘Restore’ asylum seeker befriending team as its Administrative Assistant. Josh was attracted to Restore’s work because of his heart for social justice. He is a Yorkshireman who moved to the city when studying at the University of Birmingham. Josh is a deacon at Harborne Baptist Church, where he worships with his wife, Eunice. Josh also teaches music and runs choirs in Birmingham and Coventry, and has used his administrative and technology skills in a range of paid and voluntary roles.

Despite the huge challenges of the last year, Restore completed 67 new matches between asylum seekers and befrienders during 2020. Also in 2020, 66 men attended at least one of the group-based social activities for men, 90 people attended our awareness-raising and training courses and 28 people applied to become a befriender following the autumn course. There are 117 ongoing befriending matches at the start of 2021 – and counting. Read more about Restore’s work among refugees and asylum seekers HERE.

A refugee who was befriended when new to Birmingham, recently wrote, ‘I thought that protection can be provided on legal and physical grounds. However, I realised that Restore provides another valuable form of protection, which is the spiritual one. Restore embraced me and made my isolated, lonely life viable and sociable. I felt that Restore saved me from trauma and found me a befriender who was more than a friend but an angel and brother.’

2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the UN Convention on Refugees. The UK was one of the original signatories on 28 July 1951. Restore joins with other groups in seeking to ensure that the current Government holds firm to the principles of offering protection to those fleeing persecution. One area in which lobbying is currently taking place is the use by the Home Office of former army barracks to house newly-arrived asylum seekers. Along with many other organisations, Restore believes that these are not suitable accommodation for people who have been persecuted and are living with past trauma. ‘Freedom from Torture’ has started a petition lobbying the Government to close the camps and save lives. To sign the petition, click HERE.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, through the support of many people, churches, grant-making trusts and Covid funds, Restore entered 2021 in a positive financial position. However, funding remains an ongoing challenge for the ministry. For details of how to donate to Restore, follow THIS LINK.

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