Restore – working with individual refugees and also campaigning for policy change

Restore’s vision is for a society into which all refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, valued and integrated.  Restore is best known for its one-to-one befriending scheme.  A befriended resettled refugee recently wrote:

“Meeting my befriender helped me a lot during the lockdown when we had weekly video calls to chat and it was amazing how we had so much in common.  We even lived in the same area so it was easy to go for walks when lockdown eased a little bit.  We now meet in person and we share a lot about our culture and daily life. This definitely helped me with knowing more about the city and improved my English. I always have her when I wanted to know about anything: places to visit, things to do in the city and so on. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have a befriender and appreciate all the work that Restore does for refugees that makes starting a new life in a completely different country a lot easier.”

Restore also works for change.  Along with other members of the Together with Refugees coalition we’d love to see amendments to the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament:

  • A commitment to resettling at least 10,000 refugees annually. (Current schemes focus on Syrians and Afghans and we would like to see routes open to those fleeing persecution in other countries)
  • Removal of clause 11 which would treat asylum seekers differently depending on how they travel to the UK rather than focusing on whether they have a well-founded fear of persecution

Restore and Together with Refugees are encouraging people to write to their MP, asking them to support these cross-party amendments.

Like many other organisations across Europe, Restore is deeply concerned about the conflict in Ukraine. War inevitably results in pain and suffering for countless people, many of whom could find themselves becoming refugees.

We join other British charities in urging our own government to protect those fleeing any violence in the region, and to commit for an emergency refugee resettlement programme for those who are displaced, should the need arrive.

Six months after the fall of Kabul, however, the events of the last few days have shown once again how quickly a geopolitical situation can deteriorate. The current fast-moving crisis underlines the fact that many people caught in conflict cannot wait months or even years for visas or other official paperwork.

That’s why we also want to urge the government to rethink its Nationality and Borders Bill, which has been condemned by the UNHCR.  The Bill in its current format could treat Ukrainians arriving in the UK, having travelled via other European countries, as criminals and could leave them to languish in segregated accommodation, perhaps even thousands of miles away.

STOP PRESS: On 28 February over 1000 faith leaders wrote to the Prime Minister expressing their horror at the Bill and urging him to rethink the legislation.  It’s great to see that many church leaders from across the country signed this letter.  For a link to the letter please click HERE

For more information about the Together with Refugees Coalition please click HERE 

Restore is a member of the Board of the Migration Policy and Practice (Birmingham and Black Country) which has produced its first annual assessment of the migration sector.  Barriers to Migrant integration: Challenges facing migrants and the Migration Support Sector in Birmingham and the Black Country covers health, rights, opportunities and community issues for migrants.  To access the report, please click HERE 

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