What can be done to help?
We have an awesome, powerful God and we need to be praying big prayers! It can be hard to know where to start with such a huge, complex situation. 24-7 Prayer have held a week of prayer this week for the crisis and there is a good starting point on their website.
SIGN A PETITION
There are plenty out there – here are two to consider: Refugee Action or https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105991
WRITE TO COUNCILLORS & MPs
www.writetothem.com/ and www.theyworkforyou.com allow you to find your local councillors and MP and then send them a message. Citizens UK are recommending we write to councillors to ask them to commit to resettling people in Bristol and MPs to pressure their party leadership to commit to resettling at least 10,000 a year for a minimum of two years running, and to raise it with the Prime Minister. For tips on who to write to and what to say, please see these slides on Writing for refugees prepared by Mark Cheesman and shared in our service on Sunday 13th September.
Some organisations have set up emergency appeals to support their particular area of response eg Open Doors (families in Iraq), Tearfund (supporting church response in Europe) and World Vision (children in Syria). You can give directly through these links.
It sounds as though there have been lots of donations of clothes etc already and this may not be the best way we can help at the moment. However there are a couple of ways you could donate if you wish:
Bristol Bike Project is apparently renovating bikes to send to refugee camps – contact them for more info.
Bristol Refugee Rights based in St Paul’s have a free ‘shop’ for asylum seekers – their website outlines what items they accept.
Clare Mellis is already involved with B-Friend who link volunteers up with refugees to provide friendship and support.
CONSIDER FOSTERING UNACCOMPANIED MINORS
The fostering organisation Home for Good has information about this. They are not involved directly in placing children with foster carers but are registering people’s interest to pass on to local authorities.
HOSTING INDIVIDUALS OR FAMILIES
On Sunday we mentioned a Baptist Minister, Juliet Kilpin who is encouraging each of the 2200 Baptist Churches in the country to offer 5 spaces to host refugees. This is an initiative to gather offers of hosting at the moment and she is working to link in with agencies to process these offers. More info is available here
Bristol Hospitality Network also has information about hosting refugees and welcoming them into communities.
OFFER PROPERTIES FOR FAMILIES TO LIVE IN
Citizens UK have information about how this might work and you can sign up with them to express interest if you have any rental properties you could offer to house refugees.