The United Synagogue is working on increasing its work within the social responsibility sphere. They are planning on running an asylum seekers’ mini drop-in centre every 4th Sunday of the month in Hendon, with the first session on 29th April. There are 28,000 asylum seekers in the UK waiting for refugee status. During this period, they get minimal financial support and are not allowed to work. They need support during the time that they are waiting. The mini drop centre, run by US volunteers, will run for 2 hours once a month on a Sunday and will include the following areas:
- Mentoring: professional members of the US including lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants etc. These people will be able to give professional advice to help with some of the issues they face.
- Befriending: members of our community will be able to spend time talking and befriending the asylum seekers. They are very lonely and sometimes just want someone to hear their story. They will also be able to help them with mundane day to day issues/chores.
- Food: volunteers will cook hot vegetarian food and serve it to the visitors. This gives a space for the volunteers and asylum seekers to eat together, socialise and befriend.
- Coffee, teas, biscuits and cakes: this gives another area to relax and socialise
- Kids area: US youth groups will be running activities for the youth and a crèche service for the younger children.
- Donations: there will be an ongoing collection by our shuls for clothes, shoes, toys and toiletries. They will be sorted and put out by size, so that the asylum seekers will be able to easily find suitable items for themselves and their children.
- Food vouchers: The asylum seekers will receive vouchers for supermarkets. This will be funded by money that will be raised by our communities, government grants, funds from foundations and some angel investors.
This project will need to be shared by various United Synagogue communities, since it is too large for one shul to handle. Each session will need over 50 volunteers from across the United Synagogue shuls. If you would like to get involved with this exciting volunteering project, please email Yael Peleg.