Hello Friends, 

As we approach the end of January we’d like to squeeze in a wish of a Happy New Year to you all.

It feels like the South Downs Refugee Project is gearing up for a busy 2022, and there’s plenty to update you on…

Approval in Principle from the Home Office
First and foremost we are very happy to report that we have now submitted our application and all supporting documentation, and expect notification of our approval in principle in the next few days.

If and when granted, approval in principle will mean that the Home Office is satisfied that we are suitably prepared, structured and resourced to welcome a family once we have the key elements in place; a suitable property, places in schools etc. 

Many thanks to our lead sponsor CitizensUK, RESET, West Sussex County Council and Mid Sussex District Council for their contribution to the process thus far.

Property Search
In anticipation of our approval in principle, we are now looking for a property to rent in the area for a minimum lease term of 2 years.

The immediate task is to spread the word about our search locally. 

It would be fantastic if you could spread the word with your friends, neighbours and social networks.

You can find various versions of the poster below here:
– Instagram square: download
– Generic Social Media: download
– A4 Poster: download

Of course if you, or someone you know, has a property and would like to have an informal chat about this then please do encourage them to get in touch: sdrefugeeproject@gmail.com

Volunteering Update

Family Support Team
As we move into this next phase of the project our Family Support Team Lead Jeremy and Safeguarding Lead Jenny are starting to develop the policies and processes for this team. This will be the group of volunteers who will be providing direct day-to-day support to the family as they settle into their new home and surroundings.

A huge thanks to all those volutneers who have signed up for the meeting on 29th January. We’re looking forward to meeting you all.

We are still keen to hear from men who might be intersted in volunteering to support the family, and from anyone who will be able to offer time during daytime working hours.

If this is you and you are keen learn more about the role of family support volunteer then please do get in touch with Jeremy Weinstein to chat more: jeremy.a.weinstein@btinternet.com.

Property Team Volunteers
In anticipation of finding a property – we’d also like to do a shout out for any of you out there who might be interested in helping us prepare the property either as Property Support Lead, or as part of a Property Support Team

Until we know more about the property, it’s all a little hypothetical, but we are imagining the work will be more on the practical side: collecting things for the house, preparing the house itself, and perhaps some DIY or simple maintenance tasks.If this is of interest please get in touch: sdrefugeeproject@gmail.com

Partnering with local schools

Our chair Tom has been out and about to two local schools in January who have decided to support the project. 

The Social Action Group at Woodlands Mead College are planning ways to raise money for the project, and the school council at Ditchling St Margaret’s primary school has chosen SDRP as one of two causes the whole school will support this term. 

Tom speaking with students at Woodsland Mead College

It was great to speak with the students about the refugee crisis and the work of SDRP. A huge thank you to both schools for your support 🙂 

Hassocks Village Ceilidh 
With Omicron seemingly in retreart, we have been able to secure a provisional date for our rescheduled Hassocks Village Ceilidh, following it’s postponement in November.

Friday 13th May, Adastra Hall, Hassocks. 

If you are an existing ticket holder from November, we’ll be in touch directly soon to check you can still make the date.

Following this process, please check our Facebook page for ticket updates if you’re keen to come along.

Fundraising Update

Currently our fundraising stands at 75% of our target, with plenty of activities planned this year.

Perennial thanks to everyone who has contributed via our Just Giving page, or by supporting an event or activity.

Hurst Cinema – For Sama
Finally we’d like to signpost Hurst Cinema, who are screening For Sama on Friday 25th February at 8pm. 

The film is shot and directed by then 26 year old Waad al Kateab as a gift to her new daughter Sama, and documents the impossible decision faced by the film-maker; to stay and fight for the Syria she loves as it’s torn apart by the war. Or to flee in search of a safer upbringing for her new baby. 

As you might expect, it’s not a light watch, but it is a powerful and moving film.

Many thanks for your time here and looking forward to good things in 2022.