UNHCR - UK pushes to deepen its community refugee scheme

 596f34134strip.jpgA year after progamme’s launch, Home Secretary offers £1 million at Lambeth Palace event to support groups sponsoring resettled refugees

The British government is committed to deepening its year-old refugee community sponsorship scheme, promising extra funding for integration training and support at a roadshow this week to encourage more participation from local groups.

The plan enables community groups including charities, faith groups, churches and businesses to take a lead role supporting resettled refugees. It has had a modest start, with 53 refugees welcomed to date by 10 groups under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) for Syrian refugees.

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Mayor to bring Londoners together to support Syrian refugees

City Hall secures Home Office funding for new community sponsorship scheme and a co-ordinated approach to resettlement of Syrian refugees.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today launched the first city-wide scheme to support Syrian refugees to rebuild their lives in London and thrive in their local community.

Through the Mayor’s new resettlement initiative, City Hall will work with local authorities, communities, businesses and organisations to coordinate offers of support and expertise from across the capital to help Syrian refugees make London their home. These offers include homes, job and education opportunities, orientation support and English language classes.

Sadiq Khan has welcomed the Government’s commitment to bring 20,000 Syrian refugees to the UK by 2020, and alongside Matthew Ryder, his Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, has made it clear that a city as prosperous as London should play its part in helping to relieve the crisis.

Read more on London Gov website.

Why Canadian leaders are heading to the UK to inspire communities to resettle vulnerable refugee families

 refugee-crisis-strip.jpgAt a time when many people feel powerless to act against the refugee crisis, next week a group of Canadian ministers, government officials and civil society leaders will be joining a UK wide roadshow to motivate and inspire communities to help resettle vulnerable refugee families.

The roadshow, hosted by The Good Faith Partnership, Social Finance, the Home Office, Canadian Government as well as a host of local churches, faith groups and civil society organisations will provide a special opportunity to hear the life-changing, community-transforming stories of sponsorship from Canada and the UK.

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Cardigan residents' bid to re-house Syrian refugees

 BBCstrip.jpgCommunities across Wales desperate to help displaced Syrian refugees are raising money to fund the resettlement of families themselves.

One group in Cardigan, Ceredigion, has raised £12,000 as part of its application to the Home Office's community sponsorship scheme.

The money will be used to help the families set up home and find work.

Read more on BBC website.

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.