De Beauvoir fundraiser planned to improve lives of Syrian refugee families rehoused in Hackney

CitizensUK Hackney calling on the council to fulfil its pledge to house seven refugee families earli

CitizensUK Hackney calling on the council to fulfil its pledge to house seven refugee families earlier this year. Five have now been housed. - Credit: Archant

A fundraising night has been planned to “make a difference to the quality of life” of the five Syrian refugee families who have now been housed in Hackney.

The Party in the Park, in De Beauvoir Square, where the most recent family to arrive was introduced

The Party in the Park, in De Beauvoir Square, where the most recent family to arrive was introduced to neighbours. Picture: Paul Bolding - Credit: paul bolding

Community group De Beauvoir Welcomes Refugees has been helping the latest family that arrived last month.

The group has steered the process through meetings with the Home Office and Hackney Council, and is now helping the families adjust to their new life by helping with paperwork, integration and providing household items.

Two were introduced to their neighbours and Meg Hillier MP earlier this month at the De Beauvoir Association’s Party in the Park in De Beauvoir Square.

“It was fantastic to be able to welcome the families to Hackney,” said Ms Hillier.

Meg Hillier: 'It was fantastic to welcome the families to Hackney'. Picture: Parliament/Creative Com

Meg Hillier: 'It was fantastic to welcome the families to Hackney'. Picture: Parliament/Creative Commons (licence CC BY 3.0) - Credit: Archant


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The government hasn’t prioritised housing refugees in London because of the cost of living, but the Hackney South and Shoreditch MP thinks this is misguided. “London is a fantastic place for refugees to come because of its diversity and the range of languages spoken,” she said. “I hope they feel at home [and] more refugees will be able to find a home here. It’s fantastic Hackney is helping people in dire need.”

Hackney Council has been criticised for not doing enough to house refugees. Paddington Bear posters were delivered to councillors in January calling on them to “speed up” the process of housing a promised seven Syrian families. Mayor Phil Glanville had pledged to resettle them by Christmas, but the council blamed Home Office bureaucracy for the delay.

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Cllr Rebecca Rennison told the Gazette the latest family was “receiving the usual intensive support and orientation”.

De Beauvoir Welcomes Refugees is holding a fundraising evening on September 9 in St Peter de Beauvoir Church in Northchurch Road. Performers include jazz musician and refugee rights campaigner Ian Shaw, actors Simon Callow and Cleo Sylvestre, and youth theatre Company Three.

Juliet Webster from the group said: “The family needs financial support to supplement the very modest benefits it can claim – £5,000 will enable it to meet some basic needs more comfortably and £10,000 will enable it to have small luxuries or perhaps pay for extra therapeutic help.”

Tickets go on sale later in the summer.

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