It’s Refugee Week this week, when the spotlight turns towards supporting refugees and raising awareness of the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
The topic of refugees is never far from the news agenda. Be it unthought-through government policies to the question of whether asylum seekers should be allowed to work, or the tragedy facing many Ukrainian refugees, this topic divides our society in a way that is truly shocking.
What is often not talked about, probably because it doesn’t make good news coverage, is the humanity, kindness and welcome shown to many refugees. It is easy to forget amongst the noise, that refugees are people, like us, who contribute greatly to our society and economy, and that many organisations that are often volunteer-run, work to support people who really need help.
One of those organisations is West London Welcome, a community centre that provides a safe, inclusive and positive experience to refugees and asylum seekers. Every week, West London Welcome opens its doors providing a foodbank, English classes, legal support, lunches, music classes and outings and so much more to refugees from the local community.
More importantly though, West London Welcome is creating a community where friendship, humanity and kindness is everything. CEO and co-Founder of London Law Collective Jo Farquharson who is now Chair of West London Welcome, became involved having volunteered for the organisation helping to teach English and delivering food parcels during the pandemic, and LLC now also provides pro-bono support to West London Welcome.
This week we can all do more, but refugees and those who escape the disastrous effects of climate change and conflict will keep coming to our shores and should be made to feel welcome all year around, just like we would be in their countries.