Diocese of Westminster Refugee Response

We believe that everybody has the right to safety and a home to flourish in. In the Diocese of Westminster countless projects, organisations and individuals work together to create places of welcome and safety for people who have experienced seeking sanctuary. 

Building Community: Supportive Networks around Asylum Accommodation

This resource is for volunteers and individuals who are supporting people staying in asylum accommodation. The resource was compiled from a meeting of people living in and volunteering in asylum accommodation – the document contains some of the ideas and experiences shared. We hope some of these might be helpful to you or resonate with your own experience. 

This resource is for you if: 

  • You are connected with people staying in asylum accommodation, or you’d like to start supporting 
  • You are seeking further ideas 
  • You’d like to develop more connections to improve outcomes  

If you would like to discuss any questions or ideas that arise from the document, or would like to be included in future meetings, please contact caritaswestminster@rcdow.org.uk.  

Wisdom from a Journey to a Good Life

Over the summer of 2023, staff and volunteers from Caritas Westminster and other organisations met with 57 people and asked them the single question “When you think of a good life, what does that mean to you?” These were people who had come to the UK seeking sanctuary. The answers varied according to circumstances, but common themes emerged, which are highlighted in a report published in November. These include the importance of community, kindness, and having the power to shape their own lives. 

The listening exercise and report were planned and undertaken in partnership with the Mayday Trust, a charity which promotes a person-centred approach in working with people experiencing difficulties.  

Read more about Wisdom from a Journey to a Good Life here.

We are looking to continue this work of listening alongside other organisations and to bring the report to the attention of decisions makers in government and elsewhere. Anyone interested in being part of this process should contact Rosa Lewis

Wisdom from a Journey to a Good Life contains six recommendations for anyone wishing to support people seeking sanctuary. If used alongside the Bishop’s Conference document “Love the Stranger” (see below)  it adds a personal perspective to the calls for action contained in this. 

We would like to thank the organisations who helped produce this report, including: Hitchin Pantry, Jesuit Refugee Service, the Passage, Hope for Southall Street Homeless, Camden Welcomes, Sutton Deanery Refugee Community Sponsorship Group, the Roma Support Group, Companions of Malta, Homes for Ukraine, and especially Reset who provided a grant.

Most importantly, we would like to thank all who agreed to be interviewed. They had migrated to the UK from many countries including Iraq, Iran, El Salvador, Ukraine, Punjab, Eritrea, Vietnam and Syria, while other participants came from the Roma community.

Love the Stranger, teaching document of the Bishops of England and Wales

Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales published Love the Stranger in March 2023. This presents a Catholic response to refugees and migrants. It draws on papal encyclicals and other documents to shed a light on how we should respond to those who have left their homeland to come to this country. The rights of people to migrate should be upheld and we should celebrate the shared gifts that arise when people join our communities and are welcomed and supported. There is also a section on trafficking and slavery.

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