Herts Welcome Syrian Families event in St Albans attracts hundreds of supporters

Some of the speakers: (LtoR) Dr Taghleb Alrahabi from the Peace and Justice for Syria group,  Canon Tony Hurle Vicar of St Pauls Church, Irene Austin Chair of HWSF, and Belinda Milani, Systemic Family Psychotherapist. - photo credit: Roy Milani

Some of the speakers: (LtoR) Dr Taghleb Alrahabi from the Peace and Justice for Syria group, Canon Tony Hurle Vicar of St Pauls Church, Irene Austin Chair of HWSF, and Belinda Milani, Systemic Family Psychotherapist. - photo credit: Roy Milani

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Hundreds of people took to an event in support of welcoming refugee families to the county on Sunday (31).

More than 240 people attended the event at St Paul's Church - photo credit: Roy MilaniMore than 240 people attended the event at St Paul's Church - photo credit: Roy Milani

Herts Welcome Syrian Families (HWSF) organised an afternoon of speakers at St Paul’s Church in St Albans for 240 keen event goers.

The charity, an amnesty that co-ordinates charities and people wishing to support refugees, arranged the event to increase understanding about the challenges refugee families faced and the Hertfordshire effort to support them.

There were a number of stalls for individual organisations, including StAlbans4Refugees (StAR) who managed to raise £330 before their second trip to Calais this Saturday (6).

Speakers included Dr Alrahabi, a member of the Peace and Justice group for Syria, Belinda Milani, a systematic family psychotherapist who spoke about the impact of trauma on refugee families, and HWSF volunteer Katie Seaton, who spoke about the findings of the Badael Foundation which promotes women’s non-violent activism in Syria.

Green district councillor Simon Grover who started a petition calling on Herts County Council to support St Albans’ efforts to welcome Syrian refugees, also spoke at the event.

He said: “There’s obviously a huge amount of interest from St Albans residents, and lots of people who want to know what’s going on and how they can help.

He continued: “I’m delighted that so many people are now involved, that councils across Hertfordshire are making plans to welcome vulnerable refugee families this year, and that we are almost now at the point where we can actually make a difference to this appalling disaster in Syria.”

Various faith groups united to attend the event including representatives from local mosques and churches.

Irene Austin, from HWSF, organised the event, and said that the focus was to highlight the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR) programme.

She added: “It was a great success, we had a really good range of speakers.”

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