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Student ‘buddies’ help Syrian refugees to settle in Lancashire

Student ‘buddies’ help Syrian refugees to settle in Lancashire Banner Image

Some of the Syrian families meeting UCLan students

UCLan students volunteer to help families start their new lives in East Lancashire

Students and local community groups have joined together to help Syrian refugee families feel welcomed in their new communities.

Community leadership and medicine students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) were among those who volunteered to be ‘buddies’ to the refugees who are making their new homes in East Lancashire.

A special welcome event took place recently at UCLan Burnley’s Victoria Mill Campus and attracted more than 30 Syrian families who have been resettled in Burnley, Nelson, Rossendale, Brierfield and other areas within the county.

We all appreciate how difficult it must be for the families who’ve had to leave their home land so this is a great chance to meet new people, make new friends and help support their integration into the local community

Lecturer Bob Walley, from UCLan’s Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership (CVCL), said: “The event was a huge success and it was great to see so many people there. The aim of the day was to link families up with our students to help in a peer mentoring or ‘buddying’ capacity supported as volunteers through us at CVCL.

“The plan is to match up the interested students, some of whom are international students themselves, with the Syrian families. They will then be able to meet up, perhaps have a cup of tea, help the refugees practice conversational English, tell them about things going on in the area and help them with things they are not sure about.

“We all appreciate how difficult it must be for the families who’ve had to leave their home land so this is a great chance to meet new people, make new friends and help support their integration into the local community.”

Rachel Atkinson | 07 February 2019