Syrian coffee club at Finchley Progressive

7 March 2017

Finchley Progressive Synagogue has been running a coffee club on Friday mornings, in order to help some of the Syrian families being resettled by Barnet – welcoming them into the Borough, their new homes and their new lives.

They club alternates between sessions for families, usually parents with young children, and those for just women, most of who come with babies and toddlers.

The community’s Angela Wharton says: “I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of these families and their beautiful children. When I started helping out, I really didn’t know what to expect. As the families arrived and entered our building – somewhat diffidently – they were greeted by our amazing group of volunteers, who’d been planning and setting up from early morning, and I began to appreciate just how much work and thought had gone into creating the coffee club.

“The name is a huge understatement of what is offered. Coffee and cakes, yes, but so much more – games and toys for the children, English ‘lessons’ in the form of Ofra’s painstakingly written out songs in English and Arabic on a flip chart, accompanied by Dean and guitar with appropriately dressed volunteers.

“There’s a clothes and equipment ‘shop’, there’s conversation, and there are mentors to help in finding work and support. Above all we are saying ‘we want you to be here, living with us’.”

There will be a full comment article by Angela in the next edition LJ Today.

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