The Justice and Peace Refugee Project reopened in early January after the Christmas break, following a very busy December. Over recent weeks, we have received many contributions of food, finance and clothing from supporters and parishes, for which we are most grateful. We were very happy to receive Christmas hampers from St Mary’s Catholic School in Benton, thank you to all those who contributed so generously and showed such care for those in need in our community.

Over 500 clients received support from the Project during December. New clients continue to register with us from many places in the world, with large numbers from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan currently. We really do need your continued support over the coming months. Items most urgently needed can be found here.

Since returning in January, we have continued to support our clients with advice and signposting to organisations for advice and other opportunities. We have established contact between several clients who have been granted leave to remain with Reed in Partnership, an organisation that supports individuals to start working, fulfil their potential and prosper, often under challenging circumstances. In addition, we have signposted clients to Welcome to Badminton, where clients can access sports sessions such as volleyball, basketball and table tennis.

We continue to work with Newcastle City Council to support our clients who have leave to remain with housing advice, when they are experiencing difficulties due to the short notice they are given to move out of their asylum accommodation. We recently received an update from the Home Office to confirm that clients should not have their support discontinued until they have received both a biometric residence permit (BRP) and a notice to quit. 28 days support should be provided from the date the BRP is issued. We will continue to monitor this situation.

During the coming months, we are keen to develop further involvement from parishes and engage with more schools. New volunteers are also always welcome! Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how you can get involved.

We very much welcome financial contributions too. The project bank account is: DHN, Justice and Peace Refugee Project sort code 40–34–18, account number 52854058. Alternatively, cheques made payable to DHN, Justice and Peace Refugee Project can be sent to Refugee Project Co-ordinator, St Vincent’s Support Centre, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2TQ. Gift-Aiding your donation, if possible, makes a big difference. There is a Gift-Aid Declaration form for a single donation here or for multiple donations here or you can request one from Marjory Knowles by email: jp.refugeeproject@diocesehn.org.uk.

For more details about our work and how you can assist, please contact Azad Hasan, Project Co-ordinator at azad.hasan@diocesehn.org.uk or 07407 091184 or visit our webpage.

Our task must be to free ourselves – by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty

Albert Einstein