Abraham's Tent Project
In 2017 in response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis South London Liberal Synagogue launched a project to turn part of the synagogue building into a home for refugees. Known as the ‘Abraham’s Tent’ project after the open-sided tent used by Abraham to welcome strangers, this was our community’s most ambitious fundraising drive to date, raising over £50,000 to house a family of refugees in the former caretaker’s flat.
At the time local authorities and refugee welcoming committees were finding it difficult to source accommodation at local housing allowance rents to enable refugee families to relocate from camps in and around Syria to the UK. Find out more here.
Why start the project?
In February 2017, SLLS launched the Abraham’s Tent Project with an inspiring event attended by over 100 people from all faiths and backgrounds. A group of committed volunteers worked to fundraise for the project, design and manage the building renovation and furnish the flat into a home. In total we raised over £52,000 which covered all the infrastructure work, replacing the windows, structural alterations, kitchen and bathroom installation, decoration and furnishing. This was made possible by the many generous donations from members of the SLLS community, the local Lambeth community, the Jewish community, and the wider public who heard about the project through the media or their social networks.
In total over 300 individuals contributed and we owe particular thanks to Fowl Mouths Food, Ealing Liberal Synagogue and Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue who all held events raising money for the project. We were also grateful to receive grants from the NLPS Trust and the Edith M Ellis Foundation as well as an award from the Faith & Belief Forum for Promoting Inclusion.
Initially we had planned to house the family through the government’s Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme. However, the initial phase of our project proved so inspiring that we were able to partner with other organisations across the Jewish community to explore the possibility of supporting the family through Community Sponsorship. This had the advantage of building on the capacity, commitment and networks of citizens established through the project, to provide support beyond housing to the refugee family housed in the Abraham’s tent flat.
In late 2018, the Abraham’s Tent Community Sponsorship Scheme received approval from the Home Office, giving the go-ahead for a team of volunteers to ensure that the family receives a proper welcome into the heart of our community. Lambeth already has a vibrant community of Syrian refugees whom SLLS were honoured to host for the Lambeth Refugees Welcome (Citizens UK) Summer Party in 2018. Working alongside Lambeth Refugees Welcome, the Abraham’s Tent Community Sponsorship team will ensure that the refugee family living in the Abraham’s Tent flat will have the opportunity to engage with a community of people from both their home country and volunteers from other backgrounds, thereby reflecting the diversity of life in Lambeth and the myriad of people who turned this dream into a reality.
The project is now complete. For more information about the Abraham’s Tent Community Sponsorship Team (a partnership between South London Liberal Synagogue, West London Synagogue and Liberal Judaism) or Lambeth refugees welcome, use the links below:
Thank you for all your support!
Where to find us
Please contact the synagogue office for details of services, events and information about membership of the synagogue.
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