LISTEN: BBC Westminster Hour - Cardinal Vincent Nichols calls on groups to take up Community Sponsorship of Refugees


In an extended version of Carolyn Quinn's interview with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales discusses President Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees and people from seven Muslim countries from the US, the need for the UK government to do more for Syrian refugees, and the debate over President Trump's proposed State Visit.

Cardinal Nichols also warned about the dangers of social media, and spoke of the "need to recover that bit of self-discipline that doesn't just blurt out what I first think." He called for "self-restraint and self-denial", and the need to consider issues in a "more rounded way."

Listen here.

Sidmouth Herald - Community project to sponsor refugee family reaches £10k goal


An Ottery community project to sponsor the resettlement of a Syrian refugee family in the local area has reached its £10,000 target.

ABIDE, which is overseen by Ottery Parish Church, is now preparing an application to the Government in the hope it can help people from the war-torn country.

In order to apply to the Home Office for approval as a sponsoring body within its community sponsorship scheme, the group first needed to raise £10,000 towards the costs of supporting a family for a two-year period.

One anonymous donor pledged £1,000 to the scheme.

Read more here.

UK community refugee scheme has resettled only two Syrian families


The archbishop of Canterbury welcomed a family to live at Lambeth Palace. Only one other family has been welcomed under the scheme.

Only two Syrian refugee families have been resettled under the government’s community refugee sponsorship scheme, six months after it was unveiled by the home secretary and the archbishop of Canterbury.

One of the charities supporting the development, which is designed to help individuals and community groups offer housing and other support to refugees, said the delay “risked squandering the resources of hundreds of volunteers happy to help save the government time and money”.

Read more here.

Cornwall refugee group raises thousands to help resettle Syrian families


Seaside resort of Bude wants to be one of the earliest adopters of the community sponsorship scheme to resettle refugees.

A refugee support group in a small Cornwall town hopes to welcome two Syrian families after raising thousands of pounds.

Bude Welcomes Refugees, a 30-person group based in the north Cornwall seaside resort, wants to be one of the earliest adopters of the community sponsorship scheme to resettle refugee families.

The initiative enables community organisations, including charities, faith groups, churches and businesses, to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees in the UK.

The group has applied for charity status and presented its plan to Cornwall council for approval, which is required to secure Home Office clearance.

Read more here.

LISTEN: BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme - Catholic church welcomes Syrian family


Kevin Bouquet has been to meet a family of Syrian refugees who are being looked after by the Catholic Charity Caritas and their new community in Flixton.

Listen here (36 minutes in).

Birmingham City Council pledges to support the community sponsorship of Syrian refugees.


Councillor Waseem Zaffar announced at the national refugee summit in Birmingham that Birmingham City Council will support the community sponsorship of Syrian refugees.

The Methodist Network, led by Rev David Butterworth, will offer to sponsor a family of four – with the support of Birmingham City Council and the Home Office – as part of the council leader’s commitment to welcome 500 refugees over the next five years.

Read more here.

Refugees Deeply - Why Britain decided to partially privatise refugee resettlement


Britain has agreed to private sponsorship of refugees. Tim Finch, one of the architects of the breakthrough, tells Refugees Deeply why it can help countries successfully expand resettlement programs.

YOU COULD BE forgiven for missing the British government’s recent announcement of the “full community sponsorship scheme.” It was not accompanied by much media fanfare. The coverage it did receive tended to focus on the hosting of a Syrian refugee family by the Archbishop of Canterbury at his Lambeth Palace residence.

In reality, the acceptance of private sponsorship of refugees marked the success of a committed campaign to persuade the British government to follow Canada’s lead and allow private groups to shoulder most of the costs and responsibility for resettling refugees.

Read more here.

Syrian refugees to be housed by Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth Palace grounds in 'community sponsorship' scheme


Syrian refugees are being housed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the grounds of his Lambeth Palace home.

The family are living in a cottage at Justin Welby's official London residence after the Church agreed to house them and fund some of the initial costs of their new life in Britain.

The Archbishop and his staff will help the refugees learn English, teach them about the area, and offer advice on how to use public transport and register at a Job Centre.

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Citizens UK - Full Community Sponsorship of refugees launched in the UK: first refugees expected to arrive within weeks


Following extensive consultation with the National Refugee Welcome Board and Citizens UK, the Home Office has today (19 July) launched Full Community Sponsorship for refugees. With the launch of the brand new scheme (modelled on a similar, hugely successful, programme in Canada) community groups will be given the opportunity to personally welcome and support refugees arriving in the UK. 

Full Community Sponsorship gives community groups, including churches, synagogues and mosques, an opportunity to get involved in helping refugees through taking the lead responsibility for their resettlement and integration in a community.  The sponsoring groups raise money to help support refugees and are obliged to demonstrate to the Home Office that they are capable of providing the welcome and practical help needed.

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Sunday Times - Geldof and Cole in register to sponsor refugees


Religious leaders and celebrities including the model Lily Cole and the singer turned activist Bob Geldof have joined a campaign to put pressure on the government to allow people privately to sponsor Syrian refugees, writes Hannah Summers.



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VIDEO: Jewish Chronicle - Jewish groups join call for sponsorship scheme for Syrian refugees


Jewish leaders have offered to sponsor Syrian refugees to allow them to settle in the UK.

Reform Judaism, Liberal Judaism and Masorti joined an interfaith initiative urging the government to establish a private sponsorship scheme for refugees, similar to that which brought children fleeing the Nazis to Britain in the Kindertransport.

Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi of Liberal Judaism, said: “Thousands of our community, and their families, are alive due to the private sponsorship scheme put in place in the lead up to the Second World War.

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Left Foot Forward - Community sponsorship: the silver lining to Theresa May’s speech?

Theresa May’s speech on immigration yesterday has won her few plaudits, even from parts of her own party and from normally sympathetic newspapers. Her critique of the economic and social impacts of migration was remarkably one-sided – there was little mention of the considerable evidence of immigration’s positive contribution to bringing down the deficit, staffing the NHS, and enriching Britain’s society and culture.

But underneath the resolutely gloomy tone on the impacts of migration to the UK was a potentially promising development on asylum policy. May acknowledged the changing nature of the debate around refugees over the summer and aspired to “increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions”.

Read more here.

Spectator - Big Society could offer a solution to the refugee crisis


At first the government was slow to react to the refugee crisis, but now things are starting to happen. It’s less than two weeks since David Cameron said Britain would take in an extra 20,000 Syrian refugees, but this week Theresa May promised that the first of them will be arriving ‘in the coming days’. Given the logistics of resettlement, this turn of speed is impressive.

But if the pace of the response has picked up, the scale of it still remains disappointing. Having ruled out taking in any refugees who’ve already reached Europe, even as an emergency measure, the government really should look to increase the number it’s prepared to take through resettlement from camps in the region. So here’s an idea that would allow for that which should appeal to David Cameron.

Read more here.