Anyone who meets Bekele Woyecha, Senior Project Manager of Sponsor Refugees, is taken aback by his infectious, interminable commitment to Community Sponsorship. This summer, his commitment took him across the globe to Canada, to learn from the country that has pioneered the private sponsorship of refugees.
Since launching Community Sponsorship in 1979, Canada has welcomed 300,000 refugees through the scheme (in addition to government resettlement numbers). 1 in 15 Canadians have been directly involved in resettling refugees in their neighbourhoods.
Bekele travelled across the vast country to meet these ordinary citizens who are doing extraordinary things, to find out what makes the scheme such a success. The trip was generously funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
We are delighted to welcome him back from the trip, and learn from his wealth of experiences.
Read Bekele's blog about his experiences here: https://churchill.bekelewoyecha.com/
Read an interview with Bekele here: http://www.refugeesponsorship.org/_uploads/5b7476f2c5b79.pdf
On 29th June, 200 civil society leaders joined together to launch Citizen UK’s #ExtendtheWelcome campaign.
The campaign highlights the success of the UK's refugee resettlement scheme, which to date has offered sanctuary to over 10,000 of the most vulnerable refugees, including families with disabilities or experiences of torture.
The Home Office is currently reviewing the future of refugee resettlement beyond 2020. There is a risk that the Home Office will decide to scale down - or even stop altogether - the resettlement of vulnerable refugees.
The Economist has followed the story of Croeso Arberth community sponsorship group, and the Batak Family, who resettled to Narberth last year:
"NARBERTH LIKES to look after itself. Natives of the small town on the southwestern fringe of Wales are proud to have two independent butchers but no branch of Tesco, an otherwise ubiquitous supermarket. When their library looked set to close, they stepped in to man it. They took over the swimming pool when it faced being shut. So when their local authority seemed slow to welcome Syrian refugees, they thought little of taking on this task, too. The town’s only Muslim family, the Bataks of Damascus (pictured), moved in last July. Locals found them a house, filled the cupboards with food and—to the family’s delight—laid out prayer mats and a copy of the Koran."
After a 15-year-old girl is shot in Syria, her family flee the country. Meanwhile, in an Irish seaside town, a group of locals decides to respond to the refugee crisis engulfing Europe. The Irish Times have followed the moving story of a long struggle to give the Al-Sulaiman family a new life in Wicklow town.
On the evening of Tuesday 19th June, Louth Churches for Refugees welcomed one-hundred members of the community to Louth Methodist Church. Those attending were asked to support, practically and financially, a vision to welcome a vulnerable Syrian family to resettle and integrate within the Louth area. The evening was supported by national guest speakers and local exhibitors, LincsRefugeesDoctors and Greater Lincolnshire Area of Sanctuary.
This week marks the 20th Anniversary of Refugee Week. The theme this year is “Simple Acts”: the small things we can do to make a difference to the lives of displaced people across the world.
See our list of 7 Simple Acts you can take to welcome a vulnerable Syrian family in your local community.
ABERAID have been interviewed by the local press, Cambrian News, about their experience of community sponsorship.
ABERAID are one of the leading community sponsorship groups, and have now resettled another family.
In the article, the group describe their journey, and discuss the wonderful donations of time, money and gifts from the local community.
Read the full article here.
Jeff Britten describes the group's journey from starting a community sponsorship group to a family arriving in Haverfordwest.
Jeff Britten has written a personal story of how he went from someone who was inspired by other nearby community sponsorship groups, to a founding group member, all the way to having a Syrian family arrive earlier this month.
To read Jeff's full story, click here.
Corsham Sponsors Refugees have been interviewed for the local paper, the Gazette & Herald.
Corsham Sponsors Refugees have pledged to sponsor a Syrian family to resettle into their community, and are well on their way to completing their application.
Sponsor Refugees' Director, Tim Finch, was present at Corsham's launch meeting, alongside ABIDE's Anna Reid, where over 60 people were in attendance.
The full article can be read here.
The nominations are now officially open for our Community Sponsorship Awards 2018 in partnership with IOHR
The Migrants' Mass has been taking place annually since 2006 and aims to highlighting the plight of refugees and migrants around the world. The Mass is jointly organised by Citizens UK, the Dioceses of Southwark, Westminster and Brentwood and brings together 43 Ethnic Chaplaincies. This year Community Sponsorship was the focus in the Mass, which took place at St George's Cathedral, Southwark.
It is a scheme that brings communities together in the collective aim of bringing home a refugee family to live in their community. To be allowed to resettle a refugee family the groups work hard on creating resettlement plans, safeguarding, language provisions as well as local authority and Home Office approval to integrate a refugee family in their area.
A group in Llantwit Major, called Croeso Llantwit, have raised around £1000 in their book sale fundraising event.
The event was publicised in the local press, The Llantwit Major GEM, social media and on their blog.
This event has helped the group start their Community Sponsorship to sponsor a Syrian family to resettle in Llantwit Major.
To read the article in The LLantwit Major GEM, click here.
To follow Croeso Llantwit's journery, click here.
To read their blog, click here.
Well done Croeso Llantwit on the success of the event!
Sponsor Refugees' home, Citizens UK in Whitechapel, have formed their own group, Whitechapel Welcomes. The group, formed of the Citizens UK staff and members of the Whitechapel and Tower Hamlets community, have officially launched.
Andy May from the group has been interviewed in the local press, The Docklands and East London Advertiser.
The article celebrates the success of the preliminary meetings, and highlights that the group have raised almost 80% of their £9000 target.
To read the full article, click here.
To follow Whitechapel Welcomes on Twitter, click here.
A community sponsorship group in Whitehead, Ireland have formed, and have already started fundraising, following their successful meeting.
Whitehead Small World Group held a public meeting on the 19th April 2018, where they discussed the possibility of rehoming a Syrian refugee family in the town in Northern Ireland.
Paul Heyes, the man who has organised this group described the night in a cheerful and hopeful Facebook post.
"The best estimate from the Centre Manager was that over 120 people showed up. The overwhelming majority of people who attended were positive and supportive of our plan to resettle one Syrian family into our Whitehead community."Read more
A community sponsorship group in Wales have reached national news in an article on BBC News.
Croeso Teifi, with Vicky Moller as a member, are leading the way for other community sponsorship groups.
The resettled Syrian family are learning Welsh as well as English, as the two children are attending a local school. The family seem to have settled in incredibly well, which was helped by the welcoming spirit of the local community.