Creating a new life for Syrian refugees in Oxfordshire

We’ve been helping Syrian refugee families settle into Oxford since 2015 as part of the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS). Helping them relocate from camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

We are delighted to share that we are able to extend this project after successfully being awarded the contract in Cherwell (covering North Oxfordshire including Banbury and Bicester). We will be supporting six families over the next 2 years.

How will we support them?

Our work starts as the refugees land at the airport and continues for a whole year. We fully support these households and help them integrate into the local community.

We liaise with social services, help them find housing, get their children into education and help them learn a new currency and budget. We explain the everyday such as transport, shopping and cultural differences.

The photo shows Paul Reid from Aspire [on the far left] with our Syrian Men’s Group. Aspire create work placements and employment opportunities to people who face barriers. Two of the members of our Men’s Group (whose can already speak English) are meeting Aspire with the aim of improving their employment opportunities.

The Syrian refugees attend a course to help them learn English but we are seeking Arabic speaking volunteers to help translate.

How could you help?

If you speak Arabic you can help the families settle into a new culture and country. For example, your language skills could help translate at meetings and GP and hospital appointments. This would make such a difference to our Syrian refugee families.

Connection Support volunteer, Nuha, explains how she helps:

Lise Jamieson heads up the Syrian Refugees project at Connection Support:

Arabic speaking volunteers have been a valuable resource to the smooth running of this project in Oxford. They have been vital in helping these vulnerable families to settle and integrate into the community. The volunteers have helped with translation/interpreting at support meetings and are able to support the families in their journey to independence by offering reassurance and understanding. The volunteers have a key role in helping the families become familiar with their local area and things like local bus routes, shops, health centres and schools and introducing them to the Syrian community.

Make a difference with us

If you speak Arabic and live in North Oxfordshire, where we are expanding our project, such as Banbury and Bicester please contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Angie. It might be 2-3 hours a month, any time you can give to will make a big difference to the Syrian refugee families.

We would welcome volunteer drivers for a mini bus to collect families from the airport, great if you have access to a minibus!

The parents come with skills which they would like to put to good use so if you are an employer with a permanent, contract or work experience opportunity please contact us and we can liaise with the family. For example, the refugee families we’ve been supporting so far have boasted cooks, carpenters, seamstresses, taxi drivers and farm workers.

Help our Syrian refugee families create a new life in Oxfordshire. Contact us today for volunteering opportunities or if you’d like to help in other ways.