Newsletter June 2021

The Latest News and Happenings

Volunteer Week: a big thank you to all our wonderful volunteers

We were thrilled to celebrate #VolunteersWeek in the first week of June this year.

Our volunteers fundraise, source donations, teach and welcome refugees and asylum seekers to Bath, always with a smile. We have HUGE gratitude to the many volunteers who are the heart of Bath Welcomes Refugees. Thank you for all you do!

BWR joins the #FamiliesTogether coalition

Bath Welcomes Refugees is one of 50 organisations to join the Families Together Coalition, calling on the UK government to amend the existing family reunion rules.

The Families Together coalition is calling on the UK government to:

  • Change the refugee family reunion rules so that they allow adult refugees in the UK to sponsor their children and siblings up to the age of 25 to join them in the UK, and their parents;
  • Give unaccompanied refugee children in the United Kingdom the right to sponsor their parents and siblings who are under the age of 25 to join them under the refugee family reunion rules;
  • Reintroduce legal aid for all refugee family reunion cases.

You can find out more about the coalition on their website. If you’d like to sign the petition to Boris Johnson calling for refugee families to be reunited, you can do so here.

Could you be a foster carer for an unaccompanied child seeking asylum?

B&NES council is actively seeking new foster carers for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children.

The council offers support and training for this specialised foster care role.

You need to be over 21 years of age, have a spare room, be generally fit and well (but please call to discuss if this is a concern), have the right to remain in the UK and no criminal offences that prevent you working with children.

If you are interested please call 01225 394949 or get started by completing an online quiz.

There is more information available on our Twitter feed: @FosteringBANES and Facebook page: Fostering, Bath and North East Somerset

Meet our new Safeguarding Lead: Christine Brown

Hello BWR! I am Christine Brown and I took over the Safeguarding Lead role for BWR on Monday 22 March.

I have lived in and close to Bath for over 30 years. My background is in social work with children and young people. We moved the family to Bath in the 1980s to enable me to study Sociology and Social Work for 4 years at the University of Bath and we have stayed local ever since. I worked mainly in Local Authority children’s teams until I retired nearly 7 years ago. For the final 12 years of my working life I managed Social Workers and Occupational Therapists in a Child Health and Disability Team. I’ve never practiced in adult teams but have a basic understanding of the legislation covering vulnerable adults. I’m also a Yoga teacher and Yoga is a part of my daily life.

My belief is that safeguarding is everyone’s business and that having an organisational culture of vigilance, supported by good procedures and support, offers protection to everyone connected to an organisation. In the case of BWR that includes the families we work with; the volunteers; the management committee; trustees and employees. Although legislation and good practice guidance have evolved since my retirement, the basic principles of protecting children, young people and adults from significant harm remain unaltered.

I am really looking forward to becoming a part of the BWR team and hope my experience will allow me to continue and further develop the good work already undertaken by BWR to ensure it is in the best place to fulfil its safeguarding responsibilities. I’ll be working with the management committee to understand how I can best support BWR as we go forwards. Developing a rolling programme of safeguarding training for volunteers is one of the ways I hope to help with and details of this will be sent out over the following months.

Finally, my recent reading of the considerable achievements of BWR, undertaken by the hard working and dedicated volunteers, leaves me humbled so it feels a privilege to join you in this important work.

I really hope to be able to meet you when circumstances allow. Until then, if you have a non urgent safeguarding concern or just wish to chat through an issue, please contact me using the Safeguarding email:

[email protected]

I check this email every day and will get back to you to arrange the best way forward. However, if the matter is urgent or critical please call the Emergency Services on 999 in the first instance.

Best wishes and thank you to everyone for welcoming me so warmly.


University of Bath welcomes refugees, too

Refugee families enjoyed a Holiday Sports Activity Afternoon and Employability Support Session arranged by The University of Bath at their Sports Training Village and Claverton campus on June 1, 2021

There were multi-sports activities for the younger children that involved a lot of running about and laughing and general active fun. It proved so popular it was hard to pull some of them away at the end of the day.

The older children were offered an introduction to football training which left them desperate for more, and fortunately there is an option for them to go back and undertake more training and achieve a coaching qualification in the future.

The Sports Training Village was much admired, as were the campus facilities in their entirety. I’m sure many children went away with a strong desire for university life.

Employability support was offered to the adults in both group and 1-2-1 sessions. Members of the placement team gave advice on CVs and Interview techniques and discussed individual aims and pathways to success.

Not only was this a free event, the UOB generously organised taxis to take people to and from. We are so grateful for their support.

Days like this, coming after multiple lockdowns, are a great reminder of the real joys of volunteering with refugees.

Bath Welcomes Refugees are particularly grateful to Kate Awdry, Widening Participation Officer at the UOB, and Miranda Dockley, Student Outreach Ambassador, for the thought and preparation that went into this.

We’d also like to thank the many volunteers from the University who were involved in translating, interpreting, sports training and facilitation, employability support, and general assistance on the day.

Volunteers help make a house a home for new Syrian family

We are very happy to have welcomed another Syrian family to Bath during May.

All the furniture and most of the other household items had been donated to us.

Thank you to everyone who has given and gathered items, everyone who helped carry items (especially the big ones), Tony and Luc for their DIY skills, Lisa from Touchsafe Ltd for testing the electrical items and Lucy for making the garden look welcoming.

We hope they will be very happy in their new home.

New bicycles for a new family in Bath

Bath Welcomes Refugees welcomed the first refugee family under Community Sponsorship in March this year.The Syrian family of six arrived to a warm welcome. The Community Sponsorship team would like to thank Mike and the members of the Walcot Cycle Club for sourcing bicycles for the newly arrived family, and Tom at Green Park cycles for servicing them. We are very grateful for your support!