At Refugee Action-Colchester (RA-C) we highly value the incredible difference all befrienders make in the lives of newly resettled families. Befrienders act as a much needed bridge for families who find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. Together with Essex Integration, RA-C has been increasingly involved in linking Syrian families to local British ones, who are happy to extend the hand of friendship.

We organised the first befrienders’ meeting on Wednesday 18th October 2017 at the Quakers Meeting House to get to know each other, understand more about the issues and to discuss how we can start to support each other in a more substantial way. We had a group of around 20 people who are mainly living in and around Colchester including two Syrians. It is important for us to have the Syrian voices heard and to understand what their needs and expectations are. Some of the issues raised were thinking of examples of activities befrienders could do with families or individuals, including new group activities, joining up efforts to support each other as befrienders, and training opportunities for befrienders. We plan to organise regular meetings so that we can start addressing the issues raised.

If you would like to know more about becoming a befriender please do get in touch. You will be most welcome!

We are grateful for your on-going support and commitment.

by Iman Mortagy