Refugee Response Working Group

The Portsmouth Diocesan Refugee Response Working Group was established by Bishop Philip in 2015.

The purpose of the group is to formulate and implement a response to refugees, with the initial remit being a response to the 20,000 Syrian refugees who are or will be arriving to the UK directly from refugee camps.

The group aims to inspire, educate, provide models, connect interested people, support the development of projects and disseminate information. The group intends create “formula” projects which could easily be implemented by volunteers at parish, pastoral area, district or community level as well as possibly a larger project.

The group has currently created two packs of resources. The education pack can be used to inspire, inform and educate. Individual parts can be used separately, perhaps for general distribution in the parish, discussion groups or small project groups. The project management pack, gives guidance on how to start a project from the very start.



Download the education pack

Download the project management pack

The group consists of keen, passionate, knowledgeable, multi-skilled members who are representatives of groups across the diocese, people with the skills to enable the development and support of projects and people who are planning, developing or delivering projects. The current composition of the group includes:

  • priests and other representatives from Portsmouth Diocese
  • representative from St. Vincent de Paul society
  • representative from Justice and Peace groups
  • a Middle Eastern specialist
  • people who have worked and/ or volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau, a county council, social services, education policy, youth justice and communications  
  • a management consultant
  • a person developing a local project.

The Plan -  This is our basic remit. We may extend beyond this into other actions


  1. Be an advisory group. As a resource to parishes and the community, we can be a referral group in case of difficulties and collectively monitor progress, as well as disseminate information. This would require creating a distribution list and a newsletter or similar. 
  2. We would like to inform and educate the general population about refugee issues, building bridges and creating a more welcoming society into which refugees arrive. 

  3. Identify individuals or organisations able to provide speakers about refugees in the UK. 

  4. Organise days and events related to Syrian refugees and projects, for awareness raising. 

  5. Have a quarterly meeting of all those interested or active in projects regarding Syrian refugees. 

  6. Create “formula” or “package” projects which could easily be implemented by volunteers at parish, pastoral area, district or community level. These ideas could be disseminated via various routes. Possible examples: 
  • Boxes for refugees.
  • Discussion group ideas.
  • Creating a community information booklet and translating it to relevant languages, including basic CAB area information.
  • Community programme for refugees and immigrants, such as a drop-in, in conjunction with other community groups. One-stop shop. Joint with CAB and community liaison.
  • Monthly or quarterly letter writing ideas. 
  • Information sessions for immigrants, tailored to local needs. We could help develop a project and support an initiative for Pastoral Care.

7. The group can recommend projects being run locally, for which parishes can fundraise. 


If your parish or local area is planning or doing something towards helping and supporting refugees, please let us know. Please also contact us if you have skills which you would be willing to offer the new arrivals – such as teaching English as a foreign language, psychology, relevant language skills (Arabic, Kurdish, French or other regional languages), willingness to drive, practical skills like carpentry or anything which you think could help. You can contact the working group via or 01730 262 290.



Subscribe to Portsmouth Diocese E-news
Keep up to date with what’s happening in the diocese. The diocesan e-news comes out on Tuesday most weeks – latest events, photos, videos.

(Under the terms of the Data Protection, the information provided on this form will be held in confidence and used for the purpose of diocesan communications and no other purpose).