On December 11, 2015, Mayor Matt Brown unveiled London United for Refugees — a new way for Londoners to help refugees of the Syrian crisis settle successfully in our community. This new online campaign launched by United Way London & Middlesex and the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre, supported by Mayor Brown, will raise funds to the address the urgent support needs of Syrian refugees who are beginning to arrive in our community.

“This is a co-ordinated, community-wide response to support these new Canadians, these new Londoners,” said Mayor Matt Brown. “London is a caring and compassionate city. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to welcome these families.”

For many refugees, escaping the harsh realities of their country is just the first step in a long journey. Once they arrive in London, their new life will be overwhelming. Funds raised through London United for Refugees will be invested in front-line mental health supports, employment services, and community inclusion programs designed to help them settle successfully.

“As this situation began to unfold, it became very clear to us that demands placed on social services in our community would increase,” explained Andrew Lockie, CEO United Way London & Middlesex. “At the same time, donors have been calling looking for ways to help. London United for Refugees is a way to address this urgent need, over and above our annual fundraising Campaign.”

Donations to London United for Refugees will be used to provide:

Support for refugees in their native language, helping them adjust and navigate their new lives in London. This includes:
  • An access point to help them navigate their new life in London - everything from advice on how to use public transit, obtain healthcare, visit the grocery store, get children signed up for school, and much more
  • Mental health support to help them recover from trauma they’ve faced 
  • Language training
  • Pre-employment supports assessing their skills and readying them to enter the job market 
  • Employment supports including job training and connecting them with opportunities
  • Peer supports and mentoring for children, parents, and families
  • Community-based programming such as recreation that provide social inclusion
United Way London & Middlesex has a long history of helping refugees and newcomers settle in our community. Already this year, United Way has committed to investing $283,500 in programs and services proven to have the greatest impact in terms of helping newcomers thrive.

If you are interested in supporting refugees in another way such as sponsoring a family, volunteering your time or donating goods and services, please call 211 to be connected to local organizations involved in the effort