Bicester Refugee Support today urged local residents not to let the appalling way they have been treated by the Home Office affect their attitude towards future residents of the Accommodation Centre which is to be built near the north Oxfordshire town.
Today a BRS spokesperson, said: “We remain strongly opposed to the Centre, but we also feel we now have to accept that it is almost certain to go ahead. We are now turning our thoughts towards how we can help to make the accommodation centre a positive asset both for the future residents of the Centre and of the wider community."
Bicester has welcomed newcomers in the past. During the Second World War, there was a sizeable contingent of Belgian refugees in the town. "Bicester Refugee Support believes that the centre will once again provide a new generation of the local community with the opportunity to demonstrate their humanitarian generosity towards the newcomer."
"We can and should welcome refugees again. Let’s welcome the residents of the Centre, show them our hospitality, despite a misguided policy, which has been imposed upon us”.
Asylum Welcome, an Oxford-based charity that works with asylum seekers and refugees, worked closely with Bicester Refugee Support in opposing the Centre at the Public Inquiry, and the two organisations are still working together to plan how Centre residents can be welcomed and supported.
An Asylum Welcome trustee, commented: “We are still opposed to the Centre, and we think the whole thing has been very badly handled. It is totally wrong to place asylum seekers in a huge institution in a quiet rural area. But for those very reasons, residents at the Centre are going to need help, support and friendship from the people of Oxfordshire.
"Our experience in Oxford is that most asylum seekers are keen to learn how British society works, and to fit in. Asylum Welcome will do what it can for residents at the Centre, but we are a small charity and our resources are very limited. It will be wonderful if local people are prepared to step up and be welcoming”.
Bicester Refugee Support