We are a small voluntary group. We started five years ago, raising money, collecting food, tents, sleeping bags, toys and clothes to send to refugee camps in the Middle East and Europe. We are now a small charity, but have no official standing with the government and no contacts or links with the Home Office.
We raise money by holding fundraising events like comedy evenings, social nights, sponsored walks, quizzes and collections. All the money we raise is spent on what we think we need to do.
Now we also raise money (by applying for grants and holding online live concerts) to support refugee families settling in here. For instance we can buy family railcards and give money towards travel documents; we can pay for driving lessons and driving tests.
We can also ask for donations to make the accommodation of newcomers more comfortable, with things like TVs, microwave ovens, chairs, tables, pots, pans and other domestic items.
We volunteer to support language classes and to help newcomers get to know the area. We can accompany newcomers to appointments and shopping. We also support online ESOL classes when refugees are unable to attend face to face classes for health reasons.
We are volunteers, though, and have other things to do. Some of us have jobs, children, or are carers. Some of us are in other groups as well.
Nobody in our group is paid anything. We give as much time as we can.
We can give advice about things like libraries, social services, the police and health services.
If you want to, visit our Facebook page, Furness Refugee Support Volunteers and ask to join us. We’d love you to!