Here are the answers to some of the questions you may be thinking of:
1. Who runs Welcome Boxes?
Welcome Boxes is run by local churches in partnership with Welcome Churches, a charity set up to train and equip churches to welcome refugees. The local church in your area will ultimately take responsibility for the project including: training and supporting volunteer ‘Welcomers’, safeguarding and data protection. Each church running Welcome Boxes also has the relevant public liability insurance in place to run Welcome Boxes and visit people in their homes.
2. Is there a charge for your service?
No, it is completely free. The Welcome Boxes we take on visits are given as donations by people in the community. Any expenses we incur are covered by the local church.
3. How do you train your volunteers?
All volunteers are fully trained before visiting refugees with training that Welcome Churches provides for the local church. The training includes working cross-culturally, visiting refugees safely and data protection. They are made aware of what they can do and what they can’t do as a Welcomer to the local area. We also take up references for each of our volunteers and ensure that safeguarding standards are met.
4. Is the service just for Christians?
No, our service is available to anyone regardless of race, nationality, religion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. Welcome Boxes can help anyone regardless of beliefs or any other factor.
5. How does your Christian ethos affect your service?
As local churches, our faith is our motivation and we have a strong Christian ethos. Refugees arriving in the UK should have the freedom and right to explore faith without fear of intimidation or persecution. Welcome Churches makes sure that churches we work with are well equipped to help refugees. To welcome refugees to the community, they may be invited to church activities as well as non-church activities. Volunteers may also offer to pray with refugees for the issues they are facing. Whether refugees choose to accept this, or not, will not affect the service and support that is offered.
6. Do you give Welcome Boxes to people other than refugees?
Welcome Boxes is designed to help welcome refugees in particular. This means that the support volunteers offer is for those who are seeking asylum in the UK specifically. We recognise that there is also a need to help integrate people from other cultures who aren’t refugees in the UK, however Welcome Boxes is not best placed to do this.
7. How did Welcome Boxes begin?
Welcome Boxes was first started in Derby by a church who set up a local charity, Upbeat Communities, who now run Welcome Boxes in the city. Over the last ten years they have been welcoming refugees to Derby through Welcome Boxes. They have built good relationships with other local organisations, including the Red Cross, and have helped integrate hundreds of refugees into the local community. Since 2015, we have trained more churches across the UK to run Welcome Boxes in their local areas as well.