This week, SHP marked a year of welcoming refugees to Waltham Forest by holding a celebration and learning event for the families, council, partners, and support workers.

Over the past year, SHP has welcomed six families to the borough, and will resettle a further four in the coming months. Support has focused on providing a range of practical assistance, from arranging hospital and GP visits to arranging English lessons and supporting access to housing and employment services.  

Proud of what we’ve achieved

Clare Coghill, leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: ‘Welcoming refugees to Waltham Forest is something I’ve wanted to do since I became leader last year. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved in the past year.

‘Today is an important day, as it’s important to learn from the process so far. We must always grow and develop, and I’m pleased so many families have joined us so we can really focus on the successes and the challenges. As a Londoner, I’m deeply grateful for the roles all the partners have played, and I hope to use the learning from today to influence refugee work nationally.’

The resettlement scheme, run by the UK government in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, provides resettlement opportunities for those who cannot be supported effectively in their region of origin, including women and children at risk and people in severe need of medical care.

Support workers are the key to everything

Layal*, who is a member of one of the latest families to resettle in Waltham Forest, said: ‘The work of the support workers was so helpful when we arrived; they were the key to everything. It meant we were able to start feeling we could do anything that we wanted.’

Throughout the day, other refugees spoke about being thankful of the support they have received from the community and wanting to give back to the community. Layal added: ‘I’ve been here 3 months only and I feel like I can help. If you ask me to help with something, I can do it.’

Support of the community groups

Tyron Julien, SHP’s Regional Service Manager, said: ‘We have been working to welcome Syrian families to Waltham Forest for a year now, and it’s so rewarding to see families start to settle into life in the borough. This work wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community groups, other partners and most importantly the local community. We look forward to supporting even more refugees to make Waltham Forest home.’

This work is part of Waltham Forest’s wider commitment to support refugees, which has also included taking in 50 unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Find out more about our work with refugees.