Chiltern Welcomes

Chiltern Welcomes

At a glance

Causes

  • Refugees / migrants

Other details

Organisation type: 
Charity
Geographical remit: 
Regional

Objectives

Where it began...

In 2021, we watched the horrific scenes at Kabul airport of desperate people fleeing Afghanistan and the Taliban. We were reminded of the plight of all refugees seeking refuge from war and devastation, and a group of Chiltern Residents were determined to find a way they could help. Amersham Mayor Mark Roberts mobilised a group wanting to act and as a result, Chiltern Welcomes, a charitable organisation, was set up.

What will Chiltern Welcomes do?

We will help refugee families to settle and integrate into the local area. We will find housing, help families register with schools and doctors, search for work, learn English, make friends, and contribute to the community over time.

We aim to enable, empower, and promote self-efficiency. Each family should feel safe to rebuild their lives. We feel passionately about widening community understanding of the challenges facing refugees, breaking down barriers and creating an environment where we can all learn from, and truly support, each other.

Where have we got to?

After receiving charity Commission approval, we had a successful launch event in April 2023. We have now started fundraising and are looking for volunteers. 

We have committed to initially focusing on helping refugees under government resettlement schemes, currently still in bridging hotels. More than 8000 Afghans remain in temporary accommodation. Moreover, the government have announced that they will be given three months’ notice from the end of April to leave these bridging hotels, putting many at risk of homelessness.

We are working closely with Buckinghamshire Council who have pledged to take some of these families. We will work side by side with the Council to find suitable properties and provide wrap around local support services through a network of volunteers. Our aim is to help the families become self-sufficient, integrate and contribute to society. 

Lastly, we strongly believe in the importance of building awareness and a culture of acceptance in the Chilterns. We are widening our contacts among local, like-minded organisations and enjoyed co-hosting Amersham’s first Refugee Week events in June 2023. We were delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response. We have further events in the pipeline to continue promoting this community spirit and support in our aims.

No-one within Chiltern Welcomes receives any financial benefit from the charity – we are all volunteers.

Activities

We have started fundraising and looking for a volunteer coordinator to enable us to raise the funds and prepare us to welcome the first of our families.

Current opportunities

Buckinghamshire, HP8 4TH

New charity for refugees looking for committed and enthusiastic individuals to help build and coordinate a network of volunteers as we prepare for...