Lewisham Refugee Resettlement Scheme Launch - Refugee Council
August 2, 2019

Lewisham Refugee Resettlement Scheme Launch

We are excited to announce that the Refugee Council and Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network are set to provide life changing support to some of the world’s most vulnerable refugee families as part of the London Borough of Lewisham’s Refugee Resettlement Programme.

Refugee families displaced from their homes will be resettled in Lewisham, southeast London, under an extension of the existing Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement schemes. It will see the Refugee Council working in partnership with Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN).

As part of Lewisham Council’s commitment to becoming a Borough of Sanctuary, the Council has pledged to welcome a further hundred refugee families to the borough, in addition to seventeen families welcomed in 2017. The Council’s resettlement programme takes a collaborative approach, comprising the Council, a professional support provider and volunteers from the local community. With the expansion of the programme, the Council has appointed the Refugee Council and Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network to act as the professional support provider for arriving refugee families.

The Refugee Council is keen to make full use of the learnings and experiences it has built having provided resettlement services in Yorkshire and the Humber and Hertfordshire for several years. We are very excited to support refugees in the capital for the first time, and it will also be the first time the charity has worked with a delivery partner under resettlement.

Resettlement provides life changing, if not lifesaving, support to people who have managed to survive brutal conflict, war and persecution but are still unable to return home. From welcoming people at the airport and showing them to their new homes, to supporting people with opening a bank account and seeking employment, the support people receive through resettlement is vital. Resettlement programmes are a fantastic example of what can be achieved when government, local authorities and NGOs work together to deliver high quality programmes.

Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said:

“Every single resettlement place the UK provides is a vital lifeline to people and helps refugees to rebuild their lives in safety.

“The resettlement scheme in Lewisham has been specifically designed so that it brings together the Refugee Council’s wealth of experience of delivering programmes of this kind, with Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network’s strong reach and presence within the local area. We welcome Lewisham Council’s strong and ongoing commitment to supporting refugees.

“The Lewisham community has been an incredibly welcoming towards the Syrian refugee families that have settled there already, and it will fantastic to build on this wonderful good will.”

Rosario Guimba-Stewart, CEO of Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN), said:

“We are excited to be working with the Refugee Council on this resettlement programme which will provide a vital lifeline for families and individuals rebuilding a life in the UK.

We will use our 25+ years of experience in delivering frontline support and advice to communities and knowledge of the local area to ensure the families will be offered the support needed to become a part of this community.

Lewisham has proven to be London’s leading borough for refugee resettlement and this latest programme is part of a wider campaign, of which Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network is proud to be a key member, to make Lewisham a Borough of Sanctuary for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.”

Cllr Kevin Bonavia, Lewisham Council’s Cabinet Member for Refugees said:

“I am delighted that the Refugee Council and Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network are bringing a combination of both national and local expertise to ensure that the Council’s resettlement programme is a success both for the families we will be welcoming and the wider community they will be joining in Lewisham.

We want to make Lewisham a Borough of Sanctuary in which we welcome and provide support to people who are fleeing war and persecution. Our expanded resettlement programme can stand as an example of what can be achieved when there is there is the will and determination to make it happen.”

In June the Government reaffirmed its commitment to the future of resettlement through a single, consolidated scheme.