Meet the Shortlisted Nominees of Community Sponsorship Awards 2018

The Government and People of Canada received an award at the Sponsor Refugees launch in 2017On 7th May we launched nominations for the Community Sponsorship Awards 2018. It was a delight to receive so many inspiring examples of sponsorship from across the UK. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who took time to nominate their heroines and heroes of Community Sponsorship of Refugees. 

With over 150 nominations, our judges had a very a tough decision to make. We are thrilled to announce the shortlisted nominees.

Read more

First Staff-Based Group To Welcome a Family

Credit: Migrants OrganiseThe Welcome Committee, a group of London-based volunteers, are set to welcome a Syrian refugee family to Lambeth in a few weeks time.

They are the first work-based community sponsorship group in the UK to receive Home Office approval, having developed from a group of pioneering colleagues from Amnesty International, with support from Migrants Organise.

Abby Robinson, co-founding member of the Welcome Committee says, “In just over a year, we have grown from what started out as a room full of strangers, into a wonderfully supportive community group full of creativity, passion and determination. The group has managed to exceed fundraising targets, has secured accommodation, pondered ethical dilemmas, learned new skills, and through learning about the journey that refugees face in London, has developed a new found understanding of the challenges that our communities face as a whole.’’

Read their full story here

Community Sponsorship Workshop at Greenbelt Festival



Sponsor Refugees Director Tim Finch has written a guest blog for Greenbelt Festival on his own path to Community Sponsorship.

Tim Finch and Sponsor Refugees will hold workshops on Community Sponsorship of Refugees at this year's Greenbelt Festival, 24th - 27th August. Join us to find out how you can transform the life of a refugee and your own community via community sponsorship groups

To read Tim's full guest blog click here.



World Leaders Show Support For Community Sponsorship

Ministers responsible for immigration from Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Argentina, Ireland, and New Zealand have issued a statement fully endorsing the concept of community-based refugee sponsorship. 

Caroline Nokes MP, British Minister of State for Immigration, said, "Refugee resettlement through community sponsorship is made possible by the dedication, hard work and compassion of community groups across the UK... We are pleased to be working with Canada and others to share our experience of community sponsorship and support more countries who want to implement community-led refugee resettlement programmes."


Read more

What Can We Learn From Canada?

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:

Read an interview with Bekele here:

Join Our Campaign To #ExtendtheWelcome

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.



Read more

The Economist: 'After the exodus'

The Batak Family in TenbyThe 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."

Continue reading here

'Homs to Wicklow': The Irish Times

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.


Read their story in The Irish Times

One-Hundred People Turn Out for Louth Launch

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.


Read more

7 #SimpleActs for Refugee Week 2018

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.





Read more

Another family in Aberystwyth

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




Haverfordwest start a Community Sponsorship group

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 are back in the news!

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




Meet our Community Sponsorship Awards Judges

Awards_Judges.pngWe are proud to announce the judges for the Community Sponsorship Awards 2018

On behalf of Sponsor Refugees, our sponsors IOHR and our nominees we would like to thank all our judges for donating their time to judge our awards.






Read more

Community Sponsorship Awards 2018 launched

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.


Read more