Need help?

From December 2015 Asylum Welcome will begin providing a package of support for Syrian families brought to Oxford under the government's programme of resettlement from camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

Why do we run this service?

The government announced in early September 2015 that the UK would take 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps in Turkey and the Middle East, the first 1000 of whom are to arrive before Christmas. The government called upon local authorities around the U.K. to offer accommodation and support to these Syrian refugees. Councils in Oxfordshire expressed a willingness to help: Oxford City Council has agreed to take 10 families and West Oxfordshire 6 families.

Asylum Welcome knows that refugees arriving on such programmes need special help, and its staff have experience of previous programmes. Asylum Welcome has been grateful for the opportunity to support the efforts of the local authorities by sharing its knowledge and by undertaking to run special services for resettled Syrians, so that they get the best possible chance of settling successfully.

Who is this for?

Syrian refugees resettled under the government’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

How to find out more

The project co-ordinator is based in our main office.  Contact

Information is also available from Oxford City Council and the other district councils in Oxfordshire.

What does the service offer?

  • Meeting new arrivals at airports, attending to their immediate needs and transporting them to Oxford.
  • ‘Kitting out’ houses with additional furniture, bedding, kitchen equipment, electronic goods and little things to make them homely.
  • A two-week orientation programme of workshops covering different aspects of settling in to the UK.
  • Basic English lessons and assistance to register on English courses at local colleges.
  • Help to register for a wide range of local services – schools, doctors, banks, the Job Centre Plus, and more.
  • Visits to local amenities and meetings with representatives of helping agencies.
  • The development of a new ‘Syria club’ where new arrivals can mix with and gain support from already settled Syrians.
  • Ongoing access to other Asylum Welcome services as needed – for example the advice service, the youth club and the foodbank.

Who are our partners?

Asylum Welcome has a contract with Oxford City Council to provide services to newly arrived Syrians. We are also providing advice to other district councils.

We are working closely with another local charity Connection Support who also provide long-term support to the Syrian families in partnership with the city council.

We are part of an Oxfordshire-wide cross-sector steering group co-ordinated by Oxford City Council, that is meeting regularly to review progress.

How can you help?

  • Room adoption - we are looking for faith groups and individuals to help kit out one room in each of the 10 houses with soft furnishings to help make a house into a home for these families. We are asking that groups complete one whole room and arrange to bring what you’ve collected to the Asylum Welcome offices.
  • English teaching - we would like to hear from qualified teachers able to provide intensive English lessons for extreme beginners for each new family for 45 minutes a day for a two week period of time.
  • Syria Club - we would like to hear from anyone who has lived or worked in Syria but has been in Oxford for some time, is well settled here, and can offer informal support to new arrivals via a monthly social club.