From leafy Buckinghamshire to inner city Liverpool, from the North coast of Cornwall to the North Coast of Wales, from Edinburgh to Taunton, from the Yorkshire Dales to London, from rural Lincolnshire to urban Birmingham… winners and runners up in the Community Sponsorship Awards came from far and wide.
The winner of the big prize, Community Sponsorship Group of the Year, went to Bude Refugee Support Group, with the runners up being Croeso Abergwaun in Fishguard, Wales and the Welcome Committee in London. Ellie Stacey from the Bude Group, which has sponsored two families so far and helped set up another Cornish group in Falmouth, agreed that once people catch the sponsorship bug it is infectious.
The New Group of the Year Award went to Croeso Menai in North Wales, with the runners-up being the group in Settle in Yorkshire, the group based at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham and the innovative Merton Schools group in London. Group representatives Tim Radford and Catherine Griffiths received their trophy from award host Hani Arnaout, and the UNHCR representative in London, Rossella Pagliuhi-Lor.
Wales was again a winner in the Local Authority of the Year category – a prize sponsored by Reset. Ceredigion Council were honoured along with Bury, Bristol, East Lindsey and Liverpool Councils – all have been eager partners of the sponsorship groups in their areas.
The partnership award, celebrating alliances and community cohesion, went to Old Swan Welcomes, a group based in inner-city Liverpool and which has brought together various Christian churches, the local mosque and synagogue, as well as secular organisations. Runners up Abraham’s Tent and Croeso Roath have forged similar multi-faith and cross-cultural links – appropriately they are pictured all together.
Refugee sponsorship is now spreading worldwide and this was recognised in the International Award, supported by the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative. The award went to Ireland – and it was selfie time for members of the Irish delegation with star presenter Peter Capaldi.
Photos © Ian Brodie/Sponsor Refugees