In the last couple of months there has been great progress in the growth of the Community Sponsorship across all parts of the British Isles.
A number of groups welcomed refugee families to their areas, including Corsham Sponsors Refugees which is the first Community Sponsorship Group in Wiltshire. A Syrian family arrived in this beautiful Cotswold town in mid-March and are settling in well. Not far away, the group based around Reading Greyfriars church also welcomed a family in March and several groups in the Thames Valley and Chilterns area are moving forward.
In the greater London area, families arrived and are now being supporting by Community Sponsorship groups, including in North Hackney, Dagenham and Peckham. Speaking at a local gathering, the father of the Syrian family welcomed by Peckham Sponsors Refugees used a traditional Islamic phrase to thank members of group. “You are like brothers and sisters from another mother,” he said.
In April, two London Community Sponsorship groups from Sutton and Streatham bumped into each at Heathrow Airport as the refugee families they had come to welcome were arriving on the same flight. Both groups had produced colourful welcome banners.
A landmark in the spread of Community Sponsorship across Britain was reached with the news that the first Community Sponsorship Group in Scotland, Refugee Sponsorship Edinburgh have been approved and will welcome a family later this month. Meanwhile the first applications to sponsor have gone in from groups in Northern Ireland – Small World Whitehead, Yorkshire – Settle Refugee Group and Liverpool – Stoneyhurst Salvation Army Church.
Building on the pioneering work of the Community Sponsorship group in Bude – which has now welcomed two refugee families – there is now another group in Cornwall which is powering ahead with its fundraising, including through a fantastic video.
And at the other end of the country, Tyneside Welcomes held a spectacular launch event with Syrian food, a band and dancing. Read more about their event here.