Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees is a community group that welcomes and supports refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere in the world. The group is open to people of all faiths or none, and all political persuasions or none. We call on all citizens of Bromsgrove and Redditch to join us in this work.
You can now donate to our Not For Profit organisation via PayPal. Thank you for your generosity.
Our support for refugees in Bromsgrove and Redditch started in 2016 with the arrival of Syrians fleeing war and persecution.
But since then, many more have been forced to abandon their native countries and seek new futures in the UK because life at home had become impossible or life-threatening, or both.
An influx of Afghani citizens started in the summer of 2021 after British and US forces left Kabul.
And since early 2022, Ukrainians have been forced to take shelter in Great Britain because of the invasion by Russian forces.
Since 2016, about 40 Syrians have been supported by BRWR – both individuals and families. Although some have moved away, we are still in close contact with the majority, who continue to enjoy our friendship and support. Almost all are fully settled. Some are now speaking excellent English, enabling them to work or study at university.
Refugees from Afghanistan have had less time to make their new lives. Scores are still accommodated in local hotels, but some have moved into houses and many are learning their new language and studying at local colleges.
We are supporting and befriending three Afghani families and are providing English lessons to many more who are in hotels waiting to be rehomed.
Our most recent, and most numerous arrivals are from war-torn Ukraine. Around 200 refugees have come to the two towns under the sponsorship scheme. BRWR is already helping scores of Ukrainian women, most with families, many who have husbands and fathers on the frontline.
Regular support group meetings take place in Redditch and Bromsgrove, and we continue to work hard to make new connections, offer help as needed, and assist new arrivals who will already be supported by their hosts.
How can we all help?
Bromsgrove & Redditch Welcome Refugees is a voluntary organisation which offers both practical and financial support to refugees in and around the two towns.
Since the group was set up in 2016, scores of refugees have received our assistance as they try to fulfil their hopes of creating a new life in the region.
But the organisation can only operate thanks to the tireless efforts of a band of around 100 volunteers; and new, like-minded people are always needed to join the cause.
Befriending is a crucial part of the work that we do – pairing individual refugees or families with specific volunteers who build strong relationships and are regularly able to lend a hand. We have around 30 befrienders providing support that includes applying for benefits, contacting schools, offering lifts, providing local advice or – most importantly – being a good friend!
Practical help is often shared among other volunteers. For example, many refugees need lifts to appointments at hospitals or job centres, so we have a WhatsApp group for volunteers willing to lend a hand. Others help on an ad hoc basis with the likes of DIY, event organisation and fundraising.
English lessons are another extremely important contribution from our volunteers. These range from very basic classes to teaching those seeking qualifications to study or adapt existing skills. We are constantly seeking new volunteers to either teach or provide “classroom” support.
Newcomers to the UK often struggle to make ends meet, for a variety of reasons. So the group also offers limited financial support where appropriate. We continue to help with the likes of washing machine repairs, carpets and school uniforms. Usually, a recipient is required to repay at least half of the grant, but over a manageable period of time.
BRWR works with council officials to secure any local support available, but the group’s work is funded entirely by donations. The sale of apple juice harvested and processed by volunteers – called Refujuice – and an annual fashion show are currently our main sources of income.