Kirk announces EU funding partnership to welcome and support refugees

The Church of Scotland has been awarded £130,000 in EU funding as part of an ambitious project to support refugee integration in Scotland.

Through the multi-faith network, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees (SFAR), and with partners the Scottish Refugee Council, WEA Scotland, The Bridges Programme and others, the Church will help refugees and community groups develop their capacity to welcome and support new Scots.

Steve Aisthorpe, co-ordinator of Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, said: “As well as enabling tailored advice and help to individual refugees and families, this project will enable better support and coordination of the many local groups who are working hard to ensure the best possible welcome and integration of refugees across Scotland.”

Wafa Shaheen, head of integration at the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We are fortunate that so many people in Scotland are keen to welcome and support new Scots and that so many community groups right across the country have been set up to do this.

“We are delighted to be able to work alongside these communities and with the expertise of our partners, to build on and strengthen this foundation.”

The Church will work with refugees and communities across the country to make sure people are supported as they rebuild their lives, strive to achieve their goals and make Scotland their new home.

The project will support practical initiatives that aim to create a welcoming environment for refugees. It will focus, in particular, on improving understanding between communities, building social connections and creating opportunities for people to meet and get to know each other.

It will also support refugee communities to have a say in the policies that affect their lives. At the heart of the project is a commitment to recognising and building on the wide base of skills and talents that currently exists among both refugee communities and local Scots.

The project will run across the country from October 2018 to 2020, with regional hubs in the Borders, Highlands and Islands, Glasgow, Edinburgh and central Scotland.

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