Volunteers needed to support scheme to resettle refugee family in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 12:36 10 October 2019

A meeting with be held in Sidmouth.

A meeting with be held in Sidmouth.

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A community project is seeking volunteers to help resettle a refugee family in Sidmouth.

The companions group, made up of members from Sidmouth Catholic Church, is working on an application, supported by the Dioceses of Plymouth as part of the Home Office's community sponsorship scheme.

The government scheme was launched in 2016 and allows community groups including charities, faith groups, churches and businesses to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees in the UK.

ABIDE in Ottery was successful in its work to support a family and is now working with the Sidmouth group to progress its application.

The companions group has organised an open meeting in Sidmouth on Saturday (October 12) to find out about the various volunteer roles including befriending, languages, education and fundraising.

Brigid McEleney-Smith, project leader for the companion group, said: "We are now at the point of recruiting volunteers to deliver the support that we are proposing. We know there are many people in Sidmouth that would welcome the opportunity to support the family.

"We were moved at the plight of the families and we all felt we would like to do something. We did not know how best to help.

"We heard about our neighbours in Ottery who had done the very same thing. As a parish this might be something we could help with.

"Volunteers would be needed so they could be taking them to different places on the buses, or drive them to GP appointments for example, or have language skills as they will need to be able to become conversant in English.

"At the moment it's a small group that are doing the research. We always said we would go into it with an open mind and open heart and doors keep opening and we now need volunteers.

"We would be able to help in a way we planned and being able to do it through this community sponsorship scheme."

Sidmouth Catholic Church will provide the accommodation for the family.

The open meeting will be held at St Teresa's Hall, Connaught Road, on Saturday (October 12) between 10.30am to midday.

Anna Roderick from ABIDE will be sharing the group's experience.

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