Cornerstones Day Centre in Manchester, part of Caritas, Diocese of Salford has set up 7 pods for 13 refugees and asylum seekers, due to the increasing number of homeless refugees needing a safe place to sleep. These bunk-cabins provide safe, temporary accommodation with access to food, showers and washing facilities.
Caritas Salford has also coordinated an impressive number of other provisions funded in part by £40,000 donated to respond to the refugee crisis:
- 3 houses with 12 people via a housing association, funded by benefits. Where there is a shortfall because they are not entitled to benefit the shortfall is made up
- A house being prepared for 5 people in October
- A family house for a Syrian family from a camp in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon or Egypt ready for October
- A house in Longridge for two failed destitute asylum seekers not entitled to any benefit, provided by the parish and supported by the good will of parishioners
- Parishioners at St Monica’s Parish in Flixton have raised £9,000 and housed a family of refugees via a social housing charity.
- In September a person will be taken on for one day per week to develop the Diocesan Syria model in other parishes in the Diocese and other dioceses.
- There is also funding for a four day week, one year appointment as a Refugee Coordinator to coordinate response in the Diocese and also in Shrewsbury Diocese – the person will work from a centre in Withenshaw which is in Shrewsbury Diocese.
- There will be two days training for volunteers to teach minimal level English to refugees
Bishops and Catholic parishes have given an enthusiastic welcome to the government’s launch of the community sponsorship scheme for Syrian refugees.
The scheme gives Catholic parishes the chance to get involved in personally welcoming and supporting Syrian refugees as they arrive in the UK and then helping them to take the responsibility for their own resettlement and integration in a community. The first families to arrive under the community sponsorship scheme will arrive later this Summer.
The Catholic Church, led by Caritas Salford, has been heavily involved in the putting together of this scheme. Community sponsorship is the best way of channelling the outpouring of support, concern and generosity across the country for vulnerable Syrian refugees made homeless and destitute by conflict and war.
Caritas Salford is leading the way for the Catholic community, with St Monica’s parish in Salford Diocese part of the pilot scheme.