Local churches offer ‘Welcome Box’ to refugees
The project aims to involve as many United Kingdom local churches as possible. The gift is a shoe box filled with toys and educational items for children, toiletries, confectionery, and information about the city.
Upbeat Communities · LONDON · 06 APRIL 2016 · 16:35 CET
Arriving in a new place can be an overwhelming experience after leaving homes and loved ones behind. Everything, the language included, is unknown.
Welcome Boxes is a project which enables churches to reach out to refugees and offer them friendship and assistance.
FROM DERBY TO EVERY CITY IN THE UK
Members of Community Church Derby first delivered Welcome Boxes in 2002, and it has been run as a project by the charity Upbeat Communities since 2009, helping over 300 families settle in the UK.
The charity exists to help vulnerable refugees and migrants settle and begin to thrive in a new community.
Welcome boxes has obtained seed funding to support its development in churches across the UK. More than 65 churches throughout the country have stepped forward to join the project.
MORE THAN JUST A BOX
The idea behind the box is very simple but effective: it just involves a shoe box filled with toys and educational items for children, toiletries, confectionery, and information about the city.
Once it is ready, trained volunteers deliver the box to the homes of people who have recently arrived in the area.
They also provide information about local groups and services, offer English classes, enterprise training, and housing, among many other things.
As the Upbeat Communities say, “a Welcome Box may seem small but it means so much more than the gifts inside.”
“Newly arrived families and individuals feel valued and accepted and extend a hand of welcome and friendship in the neighbourhood” , they add.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL TRAINED VOLUNTEERS
Many times, Welcome Box volunteers are the first local person refugees meet.
Volunteers go by pairs to visit a new family or individual with a box at a pre-arranged time. Local agencies refer families to Welcome Boxes, so volunteers know some information about the people they are going to meet.
Before becoming a volunteer, everybody is trained in areas such as cross-cultural awareness, services that can help, befriending and safeguarding.
Some volunteers may visit a few times and help link them in to places where they can find a community.