You can’t fit hospitality in a box
At the height of the popular focus on the refugee crisis, bold promises were made and schemes were hatched as individuals and authorities tried to come up with ways to respond to what we saw on our TV screens each night …
He describes some of the schemes he heard about as “a little superficial in their level of response”.
For a family arriving in the UK from a war-torn situation, a ‘welcome box’ of smellies may seem like a nice idea, but more is needed – and it is not just ‘stuff’.
He says that “basics of food and shelter that need to be organised” and highlight’s his organisation’s Creative English programme as a great solution for language access and confidence building.
What is needed is not a welcome box but welcoming people. What’s more, the true nature of hospitality is not convenient, and it can’t be nicely fitted in a box.
He argues that “helping those who have just arrived to pilot their way through life in the UK” requires more than “a map of services”.
What is needed are ‘life navigators’ – someone to (sometimes literally) hold the hand of those who have recently arrived, to guide, share and be there. In this sense we are talking not about a local state handout, but rather a local person with a mindset focused on including others.
He sees strength in what faith communities have in common:
In faith we are given family: I have a connection to people with whom I would not naturally be matched – no computer would dare to put the people in my faith group together. There are different cultures, different politics, different interests, but we are connected because we have the same faith.
You can read his full blog post and his conclusions on how the success of our welcome will be measured on the FaithAction website.
FaithAction is an English network of faith-based and community organisations serving their communities by delivering public services (such as childcare, health and social care, housing and welfare to work). They act as a connector between Government and grass-roots organisations, and have been part of the Department of Health’s Voluntary Sector Strategic Partner Programme every year since its formation in 2009