SHP and Lewisham Council welcomed representatives from local authorities in Sweden last week to share learning from our refugee resettlement work.

The delegation of Swedish visitors travelled to the UK to learn more about the UK’s role in the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme, in which SHP is a leading delivery partner.

The day aimed to help the delegates gain an insight into how the UK is resettling vulnerable families fleeing the brutal Syrian civil war. The learning they take back will help inform Sweden’s approach to fulfilling its own resettlement commitments.

Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resources, explained how Lewisham Council had tackled the challenges of resettling refugees in the borough, while staff from SHP’s Refugee Resettlement Team told of the practical work that the charity is doing to make families feel welcome.

A group of refugees who have been living in Lewisham for over a year also met with the delegates. The group was treated to an interactive drama session, with Palestinian actor Momin Swaitat, which was an excerpt from a 12 week course which helps refugees explore feelings and come to terms with their past. 

Tyron Julien, SHP’s Regional Services Manager, said: “We have been working to welcome Syrian families to the UK for over a year now, and have been very proud to see the families settle into London life.

“Our support workers focus on making the transition as easy as possible – from arranging GP appointments, to helping find school places and supporting people to learn English.

“We have learned a lot from delivering such intensive wrap around support and this has been a great opportunity to share that knowledge with those tasked with welcoming Syrian refugee families in Sweden.”

Since April 2016, SHP has resettled a total of 27 families in partnership with local authorities in Lewisham, Lambeth and Waltham Forest.

The programme, 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.

Find out more about our work with Syrian refugees.