Forth Valley Welcome originated in Stirling as Stirling Citizens for Sanctuary but, from the beginning, we have actively supported Syrians and other Refugees who have been re-settled in Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire. We have kept in close contact with other Refugee Support groups throughout the Forth Valley as well as being involved at national level. We changed our name to Forth Valley Welcome at the end of March 2018 to reflect the facts. Only the name has changed. Our Constitution, Charity number etc. remain the same.
The United Nations has indicated that more than 300,000 vulnerable refugees (see note1) displaced by war from Syria and Iraq need to be resettled in other countries. At the hustings meeting in the Albert Halls, Stirling, on 24th April 2015, all three of the Stirling District councillors seeking to become our MP (see note 2), namely Steven Paterson (who later became MP for Stirling, SNP), Johanna Boyd (Council Leader, Labour) and Mark Ruskell (Green) expressed the view that Stirling should be resettling such refugees from Syria (see note 3). Listen to their statements here. More information here.
1. Survivors of torture and violence, and women and children at risk or in need of medical care
2. The other two candidates (Stephen Kerr, Conservative) and Elisabeth Wilson (LibDem) indicated that they were of like mind.
3. Using the funding already available from the UK Government and the EU
Who Are Forth Valley Welcome?
Originally known as Stirling Citizens for Sanctuary, we are a group formed in June 2015, concerned about the plight of vulnerable refugees from Syria, South Sudan, Sudan, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
'Vulnerable Refugees' are identified by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and should not be confused with the complex, on-going migration crisis in Calais or other parts of Europe.
Initially focused on refugees coming in from Syria, Forth Valley Welcome saw that the UK Government had a scheme, we discovered, for resettling these Vulnerable Syrian Refugees in any part of the UK that would welcome them. We thought the Forth Valley would.
From there, we have went on to support the resettlement of refugees from a number of countries.
You can follow the rest of the story below on the 6 minute video on the history of Forth Valley Welcome or the BBC TV Reporting Scotland report on Refugees from 2016.
What We Do
One of our main aims at Forth Valley Welcome, is to help New Scots (refugees), integrate as confidently as possible into their new communities. We do this by sourcing items such as furniture, clothes and toys for New Scots, so that they can feel a sense of comfort in their new environments. We also offer Home Visitors to families who feel they need extra help at home, whether its with getting appointments booked, learning how to use the bus or simply for some company! Some New Scots may want to focus more on English practice, and we have many volunteers who help out with this, often with backgrounds in ESOL teaching.
Forth Valley Welcome also organises events such as Conversation Cafés, Snack & Chats and Walk & Talks, where New Scots can come together to work on their English and socialise. During school holidays, we also coordinate a lot of summer activities for families to get involved in!
History of Forth Valley Welcome
Originally known as Stirling Citizens for Sanctuary, Forth Valley Welcome was formed in June 2015.
We are featured on BBC TV Reporting Scotland!
We move online! (Temporarily) COVID-19 hits and we have to become more creative about our support delivery. We run online sessions and a mobile library for kids!
We are awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.
As we grow, we bring on more staff. Our team grows from two part-time members of staff to five!