Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign asks our community to pledge what they can to support vulnerable people in crisis
A subsidiary of Citizens UK national campaign, Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) is working to help resettle refugees in the city of Cambridge and surrounding area. Currently it is running several strategies in order to aid resettlement and convert a public desire to help vulnerable people fleeing from conflict in Syria into constructive local action. Among these are its Make a Pledge drive, an urgent childrens campaign and a campaign supported by Cambridge City Council reaching out to local landlords. There are also two subdivisions of CRRC as a whole directed respectively at staff, students and alumni of both Anglia Ruskin and Cambridge University.
Make a Pledge is asking people in and around Cambridge to pledge what they can to support resettlement. Cambridge City Council has agreed to resettle a minimum of 50 vulnerable refugees, whilst CRRC is hoping to open doors in order to receive at least 100. There are a range of things that people can pledge, including accommodation, goods, transport, skills, money and personal support. Suggested pledges include van or car use, bicycle maintenance, English language tuition, haircuts, childcare and accommodation space at meeting rooms and halls, as well as a variety of other necessary provisions. The idea behind Make a Pledge is to build a database of people and pledges, allowing a plan for a coordinated resettlement programme as well as reassuring the council that there is ample grass-roots commitment in the local community to help refugees in practical ways.
Recent support for the campaign at large has been offered by Cambridge City Council in the form of help reaching out to private landlords concerning the provision of local accommodation. The Home Office recently gave the council permission to use vacant private properties for resettling refugees from Syria. Landlords are urgently needed to step forward and offer properties to local authorities for the purpose of protecting and sheltering refugees. Landlords are not being asked to give up property to free, should they take part they will be eligible to receive local housing allowance rates (which can be calculated here: http://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx ). Lets are required to be for a minimum of 14 months and ideally longer is preferred in order to provide resettled refugees with more stability. Spare rooms are not eligible because of the Home Office’s ban on using spare rooms for resettling refugees. Finally, any accommodation will have to meet both Home Office expectations and also the council’s standards.
In addition to its call to landlords, CRRC has launched an urgent child campaign in response to the refugee situation in Kent ports becoming critical. Kent children’s services have been reporting that they’re trying to find placements for over 940 unaccompanied children, for whom they are unable to provide sufficient shelter. There is consequentially a need for foster placements across the country for children from the ages of 14 and upwards.
Supporters of the campaign include Daniel Zeichner, Cambridge MP; Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely; David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon; Julian Huppert, former MP; Bridget Baguley, Curate of All Saints Church in Cottenham and All Saints Church in Rampton, and finally Dr Aidan Van de Weyer, the South Cambridgeshire District Councilor.
Stefan Haselwimmer, head of the CRRC, said that “by working in partnership with the council, we can reach out to private landlords across the region and turn the public’s desire to help refugees into practical action. If we all think carefully about what we can offer as individuals, we can make a huge difference to how we respond to this humanitarian crisis.”
You can support CRRC by following them on Twitter, @CamRefugees and by using the hashtag #CambridgeWelcomesRefugees
You can also join their facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/cambridgerefugees
Cambridge University students, staff or alumni can join CRRC’s Cambridge University group www.facebook.com/groups/cambridgeuniversityrefugees
Find out more about Citizens UK national campaign at: