Like so many other people, we had seen the pictures of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the destruction of their homes in the cities of Syria but felt powerless to help.
Then in 2016 the Home Office and civil society organisations came together to launch 'The Community Sponsorship of Refugees scheme'. As a community group, this was the opportunity we had been waiting for. It has allowed us to directly support refugee families.
We are not experts in refugee resettlement, but all of us and the many other volunteers who have since joined, are well-rooted in our community and have a great variety of skills, knowledge, and experience needed to welcome and support a family moving to the area.
In November 2019 a Syrian family arrived at Gatwick airport from Egypt. They were greeted by an excited group of volunteers from Canterbury Welcomes Refugees. We had been preparing for months to welcome this refugee family into our community.
It was a moment that created a bond between strangers that would change all their lives.