Churches group organises meeting for Ukrainians and host families

The meeting is taking place at Marshalswick Baptist Church.

The meeting is taking place at Marshalswick Baptist Church. - Credit: Google

Asylum seekers, refugees and families hosting Ukrainians around St Albans are being given the opportunity to share their experience and expertise.

A public meeting is taking place at 8pm on Monday at Marshalswick Baptist Free Church, Sherwood Avenue, St Albans, and all are welcome.

It is being organised by Churches Together in St Albans (CTSA) – an umbrella organisation linking 35 St Albans churches.

Peter Berners-Lee, CTSA convenor, said: “140 asylum seekers are living in the Noke Hotel in Chiswell Green. English conversation groups have been run to help them improve their English. These people, mainly men, but a few women and children, come from countries across the world – Ukraine, Iran, Eritrea, Azerbaijan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Other Ukrainian refugees are living with host families in St Albans.

“Their experiences and reasons for having to flee their countries of origin vary greatly but they have much in common now as they navigate the immigration system and seek to make new, useful lives in the UK.”

More than 45 bikes have been donated to the asylum seekers and refugees by CTSA meetings. and Herts county council is providing Bikeability cycling safety classes so they will have a means of transport. Weekly football training sessions are also being held in Greenwood Park.

Rev Will Gibbs, currently Vicar of Redbourn, who joins the Abbey in September as its new Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care, has promised his support for St Albans’ new immigrant community.

Most Read

”It can be tempting for our various churches to focus too much on our different beliefs and practices - but this is a really powerful way for us to come together and work collaboratively to support these vulnerable and needy people who find themselves living in the midst of our community.”

Teresa Clarke, who has been closely involved with the conversation groups and the bike donations, added: “In February, we realised that the asylum seekers at the Noke Hotel needed to improve their English, and the weekly classes have been useful for them. They have enjoyed meeting local residents in this informal setting.”