Community groups and individuals honoured in national Community Sponsorship Awards ceremony

9 award winners have been recognised by senior figures including Canada’s Deputy Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Catrina Tapley, UNHCR representative in London, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor and Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham. 

The Community Sponsorship Awards, organised by Sponsor Refugees, were co-presented by BBC personality Claudia Hammond, and Hani, one of the first Syrian Refugees to be settled by the scheme in the UK. They marked a special moment to reflect and celebrate some of the work done since the Refugee Welcome movement first shone a light on the refugee crisis. Since that time a groundswell of support helped bring thousands of people to safety. 

Community groups from across the UK have been recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony in Trafalgar Square for their pioneering work to bring refugee families through the government’s Community Sponsorship schem– a way ordinary people can privately sponsor refugee families to find new lives in the UK, free from the horrors of conflict. 

Around 200 community sponsorship groups have now formed around the UK, and 400 refugees have been settled since the scheme launched, with more families arriving through sponsorship on an almost weekly basis. 

The glittering Community Sponsorship awards ceremony was hosted by the Canadian High Commission in London. Canada introduced Private Sponsorship of refugees 40 years ago - since then 7 million Canadians have welcomed over 325,000 refugees. They been instrumental in guiding the UK and other nations as we build our own refugee sponsorship schemes.

Hani, who was settled by the ABIDE Community Sponsorship group in Devon and co-presented the awards said:  

“We didn't know anything about the UK, but when we arrived the ABIDE Community Sponsorship group welcomed us like family. ABIDE helped to take my children to school and they helped me and my wife Amneh to learn English. It was a huge welcome.” 

Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said: 

“What an inspirational evening this has been, packed with stories of remarkable people doing good in the world. These are difficult and divided times, but Community Sponsorship is one of those civic activities, that doesn’t hit the headlines, but which shows humanity at its best.” 

Tim Finch, Director Sponsor Refuges, the Citizens Foundation for Community Sponsorship, which organised the awards: 

“Sponsor Refugees relies on thousands of quiet heroes from all walks of life, the inspiring winners from this year’s award shows that the proud British tradition of welcoming refugees is alive and well.”  

 

 

Nominees and winners of the Community Sponsorship awards 2018 were: 

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR 

SHORTLIST 

Alison Watt, Haddenham Syrian Family Project, Buckinghamshire - winner 

Erica Brooks, Refugee Sponsorship Edinburgh, Scotland 

Sebit Nal, The Welcome Committee, London 

YOUNG CHAMPION OF THE YEAR 

SHORTLIST 

Bea Forrester, Peckham Sponsors Refugees & Rushholme Sponsors Refugees (winner)

Mouteb Ajaj, London 

Pupils of Queen’s College, Taunton, Somerset 

LOCAL AUTHORITY OF THE YEAR 

SHORTLIST 

Bristol Council 

Bury Council 

Cyngor Sir Ceredigion County Council, Wales (winner) 

East Lindsey Council, Lincolnshire 

Liverpool Council 

NEW COMMUNITY SPONSORSHIP GROUP OF THE YEAR 

SHORTLIST 

Croeso Menai, North Wales (winner)

Greenlanes Mosque, Birmingham 

Merton Schools, London 

Refugee ReSETTLEment Community Sponsorship Group, Yorkshire 

CHAMPION OF THE YEAR 

SHORTLIST 

Alaa Khattab, London (winner) 

Eva Jonsson, London 

Vicky Moller, Wales 

INTERNATIONAL AWARD 

Ireland 

PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR (CELEBRATING ALLIANCES & COMMUNITY COHESION) 

SHORTLIST 

Abraham’s Tent Community Sponsorship Project, London 

Croeso Roath Cathays, Wales 

Old Swan Welcomes, Liverpool (winner)

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR 

SHORTLIST 

Dalya, London 

Hatem Al-Janabi, London 

Samir Hamyeh, Manchester (winner)

Samer Khaled Karob, London 

 

(Images: (c) Ian Brodie / Sponsor Refugees)

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