29 Dec 2015
Families fleeing war-torn Syria have now arrived in Oxford and charities across the city are doing their utmost to ensure they feel welcome.
Oxford City Council has now been able to confirm that at least some of the six Syrian families due to be resettled in Oxford this month have been placed.
Hundreds of kind souls across the city have pitched in to make sure they are kept warm and comfortable over their first Christmas in the UK.
Oxford-based charity Asylum Welcome has been preparing for the refugees, including arranging accommodation for them in the private rented sector.
Director Kate Smart said: “Asylum Welcome has put a lot of things in place for them, and really it is all thanks to the local community.”
Church groups and Oxford residents have been asked to ‘adopt’ rooms in the newly-arranged houses, kitting them out with furniture and other domestic items.
Mrs Smart added: “People have donated bed sheets, pillows, blankets, cushions, televisions, toilet brushes and coffee makers.
“These people don’t have a thing and are arriving with just a suitcase. This idea is working really well and it’s not a huge ask of people.
“People have also donated homemade stuff. We have hooked up with a really lovely charity, Knit for Peace, which has donated three sackfuls of winter hats, scarves and gloves, which is the perfect thing for people who are arriving from hot countries in the middle of winter.”
Other organisations including Refugee Resource, British Red Cross and The Children’s Society have also pitched in to help the city prepare to receive the newcomers.
The families arriving in December are being brought from refugee camps in countries bordering Syria, where civil war has raged for almost five years.