Tennis success for Cllr Paul Kohler, Wimbledon PPC

Paul is not, alas, playing in the matches going on at the moment, but when he saw that the All England Club had hosted refugees from Ukraine at the Championships he wrote to the AELTC reminding them that we have refugees from other countries in the Merton and suggested that they should give them the opportunity to enjoy the tennis as well.

The Club have replied to him saying that that they had reflected on what he had said and were delighted to now be hosting refugees from Afghanistan and Syria who were living in Merton and Wandsworth on the ‘middle Sunday‘ of the Championships – and providing transport to help them get there.

Paul Kohler said:

This is a great example of community engagement by  the All England club. There are some areas we disagree with them on – notably their proposal to build on Metropolitan Open Land but I am so pleased that they have right thing. I hope our guests in the UK will be able to see some great tennis and our British players getting through to later rounds in the tournament.

* Simon McGrath is a Councillor in Wimbledon and a directly elected member of the Federal Board.

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  • Suzanne Fletcher 2nd Jul '22 - 8:56am

    Very well done Paul Kohler. It is so true that there are many here seeking sanctuary for the same reasons as the Ukrainians, but their country has not been in the headlines every night, are not on TV, and aren’t “near us”, so we are not so worried.
    Not sure about the position in Merton, but a number of Syrians and Afghans are here under a scheme done in conjunction with UNHCR, in the past, have refugee status, and that is great.
    however the great majority have arrived here as an asylum seeker via whatever means they can.
    All need a welcome.

  • David Garlick 2nd Jul '22 - 10:15am

    Aced it!

  • John McHugo 4th Jul '22 - 11:16am

    Simon – It is very good that Syrian refugees have been specifically mentioned. Congratulations to Paul Kohler for doing this. Ukraine (and to a lesser extent Afghanistan) have driven Syria from the headlines, but what is transpiring in that country is as dire as ever.

    We can also see, now, that the bombardment of urban areas in Syria by the Russians was a kind of dry run for what they are doing in Ukraine. Because Britain has had much less connection historically with Syria than with Afghanistan or, say, with neighbouring Palestine, Jordan or Iraq, it is all too easy to overlook the tragedy that continues to take place there.

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