Bermondsey Welcomes Refugees is a community sponsorship group of volunteers with the mission of resettling a refugee family into the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe area of London, as part of the UK Government's Community Sponsorship Scheme. The Scheme was established by the UK Government in 2016 at the height of the refugee crisis. It provides a safe and legal route for refugees to come to the UK.

The group was formed in September 2019 with an initial 4 volunteers, this has now increased to almost 20 volunteers.  We are a diverse and inclusive team with the majority living or working in the area. 

Since our start-up in 2019, we have arranged numerous events to fundraise for our work and also to raise awareness of the Community Sponsorship scheme.    We are looking to fundraise in excess of £12,000 to sucessfully meet our ambition of giving a new life to a refugee family.  Our events have included movie screenings, cake sale, astronomy lecture and much more. 

We have a core team of members split into groups to cover our areas of work: Home Office application, housing, fundraising, education to name a few.  We will welcome the family when they arrive at the airport and support them for up to two years after, helping them build a new and sustainable life and to ensure they become part of their new community.  The support covers all aspects of everyday life including housing, employment, language skills, education, healthcare etc. 

If you would like to keep up-to-date with our events, sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media.  If you are interested in voluteering with us, get in touch. 


We work in partnership with:

Citizens UK, a community organising group in the UK, who help mobilise communities to act together for power, social justice and the common good.  In particular we work with their Sponsor Refugees team.

RESET, the UK's Community Sponsorship training, support and advice provider.  RESET prepare ordinary people across the UK to resettle refugees in their local areas by providing high quality training, workshops and resources.  quality training, workshops and resources.



Each month we hold a meeting for the whole team, at the moment this is done virtually, but normally it's face to face. We work in different sub teams, usually meeting bi-monthly.  The teams are structured to cover all areas of our work. If anyone is thinking of volunteering with us, they are most welcome to join our main meeting.  It's a good way to see what happens.


We are a team of approximately 30 volunteers, who collectively are working towards resettling a refugee family into the area.  We are a diverse and inclusive team all striving to reach the same goal.  We will continue to offer our support when our family arrives for the next two years, to ensure they settle and feel welcome in their new community  Here is a snapshot of our volunteers.


Alaa has helped many community sponsorship groups across the UK before setting up Bermondsey Welcomes Refugees.  He is a civil engineer, working in the construction sector. Alaa wants to give back to people of his home country, Syria, and to the UK community by being part of this group.


Laura works in the non-profit sector and is a Finance and Operations Director for a charity.  She lives in the Bermondsey area and is knowledgeable on its education system.


Francisco is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, vice president of the UK Association for Astronomy Education and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Keen populariser of natural sciences with extensive experience as a planetarium producer/presenter, lecturer, author and broadcaster.


Fiona is a professional dancer and runs her own business as a life coach. She has taken part in many volunteering opportunities around the world, and most recently headed up a new Environmental Initiative for Princess Cruises to give back to communities and places visited by the ships.


Jo works in media development and also organises tours to Uzbekistan, Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine. She has travelled to Syria for work, with Damascus being one of her favourite cities. Jo was inspired to become involved with this group through a colleague being part of another group sponsoring a Syrian refugee family.


Jun has years of professional experience in training, operations and recruitment in the technology industry and has volunteered since 2010. Spending 2 months working with refugee NGOs in Greece, this experience has inspired her to continue supporting refugee related initiatives in the UK.


Priscilla is Brazilian, living in London for the last 2 years. Currently a Project Manager at Climate Policy Initiative, managing the Cities Climate Finance Alliance.  Previously, Priscilla worked for the Brazilian government at Apex-Brasil as the Head of the Advocacy Unit, conducting outreach strategies to assist the Brazilian private sector to monitor and advocate against trade barriers.


Claire has previously volunteered for a charity that advocated for women and human rights of domestic workers in Lima, Peru. She has studied International Relations with Arabic at University and currently undertakes her Masters in International Human Rights Law.  Clairei is from Luxembourg.


Tracy has worked in the non-profit sector for a number of years and lately for an education charity working on tertiary education projects in sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked in global journalism and media development. Tracy was born and lived in Bermondsey for over 20 years.


Kate works in the SE area and was motivated by the possibility of doing something very tangible in response to the inequality and injustice facing people who become refugees. Kate misses having a sense of neighbourliness and wants more diverse connections. She will be helping in the housing search and as needs evolve helping recruit more volunteers.


Richard works in the entertainment, music, dance and production industry. He is a TV and film choreographer and creative director, for many years. Most recently, Richard has directed his own screen productions. 


Caroline currently works in the financial sector for a global accountancy organisation. She has a background in global journalism and media development. Being moved by media coverage of the plight of refugees, she wanted to do something tangible to help, so is delighted to be part of BWR.


Margaret wants to sponsor a refugee family, as governments have so much
power, pulling people's lives apart, but we can have power to put things back together for some of them


Flynn has previously volunteered for a charity that worked with Refugees and Asylum Seekers.  He studied International Relation with Arabic at university and currently works on a number of projects in the non profit sector. 

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