Mirror – British families offer welcome packs to first Syrian refugees to arrive in UK

The first asylum seekers plucked from safe camps bordering war-torn Syria land in the UK within days, Theresa May announced yesterday

A migrant holds his child on the Serbian side of the fenceDesperation: A man holds his child on the Serbian side of the fence in Asotthalom, Hungary

Kind-hearted families are putting together welcome packs for refugees about to arrive in Britain.

The first asylum seekers plucked from safe camps bordering war-torn Syria land in the UK “within days”, Home Secretary Theresa May announced yesterday.

And community activists have raised £200,000 to provide emergency parcels for the new arrivals.

Hundreds of pairs of kids’ pyjamas, toothpaste tubes and warm blankets are being packaged ready for the influx.

And a new National Refugee Welcome Board has been formed by Citizens UK and the 38 Degrees pressure group to ensure asylum seekers feel safe in Britain.

REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/PoolPrime Minister David Cameron meets a Syrian refugee family in a settlement camp in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon
Commitment: David Cameron visiting refugee families in a camp in Lebanon

Campaigns manager Rebecca Falcon said: “The refugee crisis is happening now and people across the UK are willing and ready to accept more refugees this year.

“For families living out of a backpack, the struggle won’t end when they reach our safe shores.

“Imagine the terror of being forced out of your home, seeing your family broken apart, arriving in a strange new country – and then facing a winter with nothing.”

The National Refugee Welcome Board will “make sure that people arriving in Britain get the urgent help they need”, she added.

“It’ll bring together churches, charities, doctors and businesses – all determined to make sure that Britain provides a welcome for refugees that we can be proud of.”

Board chairman Zrinka Bralo, a Bosnian refugee, said it would “make sure as a country we live up to our tradition of offering support to those in need of protection”.

Zrinka added: “At each time civil society has played a major role in welcoming and supporting those arriving.

ReutersTheresa May
Announcement: Theresa May said the first refugees will start arriving within days

“People are stepping forward in their tens and hundreds of thousands to help.

“This board will help coordinate and mobilise the country to help government and charities respond to this historic crisis.

“We will stand together and continue to make the case for our country to lead international efforts to rise to this historic crisis.”

Refugee Action believed the board was “a fantastic way to connect the range of groups stepping up to welcome refugees”.

Meanwhile, a scheme to send 20,000 teddy bears to refugee children has had an overwhelming response from UK youngsters.

Project Paddington hopes British kids will part with one of their cuddly toys and donate them to a charity appeal.

ReutersAylan Kurdi
Tragedy: It took heartbreaking images of toddler Aylan Kurdi to turn public opinion

Organisers launched the scheme following the tragic death of three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi, who drowned with his mother and brother as the family tried to reach the sanctuary of Europe.

Images of his lifeless body lying in the shallows on a Turkish beach triggered a huge response to the migrants crisis, paving the way for Britain to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees.

Project Paddington founder Joy French said: “After seeing the horrific and heartbreaking pictures of Aylan Kurdi in the media I knew we had to act.

“I laid awake at night in bed thinking, ‘What can we do to show kindness?”

More than 430 schools across the country have registered for the scheme with their pupils ready to send their “washed, pre-loved” teddies to child refugees in Jordan and Turkey.

A team of 60 regional coordinators will collect the toys before they are sent to camps next month.

Log onto www.projectpaddington.com for more details.

Read More: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-families-offer-welcome-packs-6458504

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