Salvation Army News: We gave safe sanctuary to family fleeing conflict


This story shows how a London community came together to welcome its first refugee family under the Community Sponsorship scheme.

Fleeing conflict in Syria, the family of five had lost their home and been identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as being particularly vulnerable and in need of resettlement to the UK.

Now, they will have the opportunity to rebuild their lives in London, supported by The Salvation Army and its community.

We have been leading momentum, along with a number of other groups, in supporting the government’s pledge to resettle Syrian refugees through its Community Sponsorship scheme.

Major Nick Coke, our Refugee Coordinator, said: “It has been months in the making – preparing accommodation, looking at schools, identifying access to appropriate medical support and language tuition – but we have never lost sight of our motivation to help resettle a family under this scheme.

Read more here.

VIDEO: ITV Granada News: Syrian refugee family saved from war by community church


A refugee family who fled the civil war in Syria now have a new life in the North West, thanks to a community church.

St Monica's, in Flixton in Greater Manchester, is the first church in Britain to join an international scheme offering a fresh start to Syrian refugees. It has sponsored the Hamwyeh family, helping them with housing, clothes and support.

Churchgoers say they had to act, after seeing news coverage of refugees dying on the journey to safe nations.

Read more and watch the video here.

Church Times - Worthing churches to house Syrian family


A GROUP of churches in Worthing has been given the go-ahead to welcome a Syrian family under the community sponsorship scheme.

The Worthing 4 Refugees group, which is made up of five churches in the town, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, and independent, first formed to look at how they could respond to the refugee crisis 18 months ago.

Phil Papps, of Maybridge Community Church and a trustee of Worthing 4 Refugees, said that getting approval from the Home Office for their plan had been “a lot of work”, but there was great support and enthusiasm in the town for the sponsorship.

“It all grew out of the media coverage of the plight of refugees, and, as Christians, knowing Jesus was a refugee. We were all asking the question what could we do to make a difference — and once we knew these conversations were going on in churches across the town, we all came together to plan our response.”

Read more here.

Bude set to welcome a refugee family, as town gets Home Office approval

BUDE Refugee Support Group has been granted approval by the Home Office to welcome a refugee family to Bude, after over a year of campaigning and fundraising.

The group, which originally got together in October 2015, has spent over a year finding ways to help those fleeing the Syrian conflict — going on to host fundraising and awareness events, attend specialist conferences and meetings with the Home Office — grabbing themselves quite a bit of attention from both the media and local community.

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Salvation Army in London Welcomes Family Fleeing War-torn Syria under Community Sponsorship Scheme


The Salvation Army has welcomed its first refugee family under the Community Sponsorship scheme recently introduced by the Government. Fleeing conflict in Syria, the family had lost their home and been identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as being particularly vulnerable and in need of resettlement to the UK. Welcomed under the scheme they will now have the opportunity to rebuild their lives in London, supported by The Salvation Army and its community.

The church and charity has been leading momentum, along with a number of other groups, in supporting the government’s pledge to resettle Syrian refugees through its Community Sponsorship scheme. Merton Council is the first London borough to help welcome a refugee family as part of the scheme.

Read more here.

Catholic Herald -Second Catholic diocese to support a refugee family from Syria


The family will stay in a property owned by the Archdiocese of Cardiff

The Archdiocese of Cardiff is to become the second Catholic diocese in Britain to help support a refugee family from Syria.

The diocese has given up a property for the family. The initiative has been organised by Sister Ruth O’Neill, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The first Catholic group to welcome a family from Syria was the Diocese of Salford. The family arrived in November and have been assisted by parishioners at St Monica’s, Flixton.

The refugees are being supported as part of the Government’s Community Sponsorship Scheme and are among the 20,000 the Government has promised to accept from Syria. Cardinal Vincent Nichols has encouraged parishes to become involved in the scheme.

Read more here.

Salford leads the way as Church aims to welcome more refugee families


The Diocese of Salford has appointed a full-time officer to help parishes host Syrian refugees.

Sean Ryan, the new officer, has led a pioneering scheme at the parish of St Monica’s, Flixton, which has been supporting a newly-arrived Syrian family since November. St Monica’s is the first parish in the country to join the Government’s Community Sponsorship Scheme. Cardinal Nichols has recently encouraged parishes to join the project.

Now, funded by donations from Catholics in the diocese, Ryan will take up a full-time post with Caritas Salford, helping parishes to get involved.

Read more here.

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.

Read more