School children in Leeds have been extending a warm welcome to Syrian refugee families who are being resettled in the area.
The children from St Mary’s in Horsforth have been creating colourful welcome pictures which charity the Refugee Council has used to brighten up the homes of the new arrivals from Syria.
St Mary’s became one of the country’s first Schools of Sanctuary in 2011 and staff and pupils were inspired by the gravity of the current refugee crisis to do their bit to welcome families fleeing Syria’s brutal conflict.
Teacher Sue Leonard persuaded Ikea to donate frames for the children’s drawings, and the store also donated 100 photo frames. Refugee Council staff will volunteer to take family photos of the Syrians to fill the frames and make their houses feel more like homes.
Sue said: “St Mary’s feel very privileged to play a very small part in making those seeking refuge and asylum welcome in our country. The things that we have done are so small and simple that anyone can do them, but can make such a difference.”
In September 2015, the UK Government promised to resettle 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020. The Yorkshire and Humber region is expected to welcome around 1,700 Syrians as part of this national effort.
The Refugee Council works together with Migration Yorkshire and local authorities across the region to help families settle into their new lives in safety.
Refugee Council Volunteer Coordinator Rose McCarthy said: “We’re so grateful to the staff and children at St Mary’s for the beautiful welcome drawings which they’ve created.
“Many of the Syrian families being resettled in Yorkshire have survived experiences most of us would find hard to imagine, and they arrive in the UK without knowing anyone. Finding such kind messages from strangers in their homes will provide a warm welcome and comfort that they’re not alone.”