Churches offer a warm festive welcome to refugees this Christmas

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

The Sanctuary Foundation, a charity that provides support for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, is partnering with churches and community groups in an effort to make this festive season a little more festive for those who are far from home.

Over the month of December, the foundation will offer 2,000 refugees and asylum seekers an invitation to a Christmas party in their local area. The parties will take place across forty locations, with the events including craft activities, children's parties, and banquets involving singing, games, and drama.

"With all the negative rhetoric currently around in our public life regarding migration and asylum, we have heard from many of our friends who are new arrivals that they are feeling less and less welcome in our nation. We want to put that straight by inviting them to a party!" Dr Krish Kandiah, founder and director of Sanctuary Foundation, said.

"We are delighted to partner with community groups and churches across the UK who, week by week, do a fantastic job of supporting refugees and asylum seekers."

Major businesses including Jude's Ice Cream, Tetley, Britvic, Holland and Barrett, Plaids, and KP have shown their support for the initiative, and their shared desire to offer a warm welcome to those who have had to flee conflicts and other tragedies, by donating products for the events.

For many refugees from Ukraine, this will mark their second Christmas celebrated away from home, underscoring the importance of this practical demonstration of the Christian message which underpins the holiday season.

"We hope these parties help newcomers to the UK know that many of us are very pleased that they are here and that we are keen to do all we can to support them," Dr Kandiah said.

Sanctuary Foundation, which operates in a number of countries, has provided over 4,000 refugees and asylum seekers with Christmas and Easter gift boxes over the past year as part of its ongoing work to offer support for refugees and help them find housing, employment, and well-being.