Home From Home Hallam – Refugee Family Welcome


Three volunteers and an interpreter went to Manchester Airport in a minibus kindly provided by Notre Dame High School. While holding up signs of welcome in Arabic, the welcomers were approached by a young woman standing with others, who asked if we were waiting for the same family as they were – her sister. The group she was standing with included her parents, a brother and a sister, who all live in Leeds… so ‘our’ family already have real family in the UK, and not too far away. They have been able to visit many times.

Our family of five have a child who is severely disabled, and the mother was pregnant; she delivered a baby girl in August. Both parents are young – in their twenties – and ‘family volunteers’ feel lucky to be working with them because they have such a positive outlook.

Volunteers have been visiting the house regularly to help them settle in. During the course of these visits, we have helped them to find local shops and parks, introduced them to the local library and community centre, taken them to appointments, and given practical help in many areas of their lives. For example, the father, after attending a cycling safety course, was provided with a bicycle. Here are some of the things we have been involved with:

  • The house, re-furbished and furnished, was all ready to move into. A welcome meal was provided, and utilities, internet and so on been set up. They had everything they could need to start with, but have made it their own and adding some furnishings. The garden has enabled the father, a keen gardener, to grow vegetables and herbs.
  • Benefits, The family are receiving their Universal Credit payments. We helped the family to set up bank accounts, so that the money could be paid in directly, and direct debits for rent, and utilities have been set up. The family are entitled to some other benefits which will come through later.
  • Health, As well as the necessary checks and immunisations for the whole family (including opticians, dentists etc) there was an urgent need to have an assessment for the disabled child, and of course for the pregnant mother. Much has been achieved – and much is ongoing.
  • Schools, All three children have now started school in the local primary school. It is hoped that the girl with disabilities will be able to move to a specialist school when space becomes available.
  • Learning English, Neither of the parents speak any English. Volunteers undertook courses with SAVTE (The Sheffield Association for the Voluntary Teaching of English), and have been working with the family. We have arranged for the father to start an English course. It is hoped that the mother will also start with English classes soon.
  • Communication, Because of the family’s complex needs the use of an interpreter has been crucial. We also use Google Translate, and have a telephone interpreting system that we can use, but it will be some time before we can dispense with a face to face interpreter.

Fund Raising – your help needed!

Our initial budget of £9,000 was supplied by a private donation, and has covered our expenses so far. However, the ongoing need for interpreters, and our intention to help the family with warm winter clothes and possibly help with fuel bills, means that we will need to raise some more. Our target is £4,500. You can contribute to our
just giving page here https://bit.ly/3D8BzKR

Please continue to remember us and the family in your prayers as our project develops.