LISTEN: BBC Radio Wales - From Syria to Narberth

Eye on Wales follows the story of Croeso ‘Arberth – or Narberth Welcome - a community group set up to receive a Syrian refugee family from a camp in the Middle East.

The second such group in Wales to get to the go-ahead from the Home Office, its members have donated time, skills, money and even a house to help an exiled Syrian family resettle in the UK.

But, just how much work does it take for this group of retirees, part and full-time workers to come together and take responsibility for a family?

Presenter Sarah Moore gets rare access from the Home Office to accompany the group as they finally meet their family at Birmingham airport. Listen here (first aired 23rd July 2017)


BBC Wales - Highs and lows as small-town sponsors refugees


They have donated time, skills, money and even a house in a bid to be allowed to help a family of refugees resettle in the UK.

But, as the Home Office announces £1m to help more communities sponsor refugees, just how much work was it for one group of retirees, part and full-time workers to pull together and take responsibility for a family?

Christine Hughes kept seeing pictures and videos on Facebook of Syrian refugees and their desperate bids to get to the UK. And she wanted to help.

"I was hearing the most awful stories and just not sleeping," mother-of-four and grandmother Mrs Hughes said.

Read more

Wanted: one Syrian family for small Welsh village


The small community of Narberth may not be most obvious place to resettle a traumatised family but locals have worked hard for a year to make it happen.

There are no mosques, few foreigners and the nearest Muslim community is miles away. You have to drive almost an hour even to reach the start of the motorway and the weather can take some getting used to.

In short, it may not seem the most obvious place to resettle a traumatised Syrian family.

But at 5am one day last week, a 17-seater bus set out from the small Welsh market town of Narberth (population 2,400) to pick up seven refugees from Birmingham airport. Everyone was nervous. It was the culmination of a year-long process.

Read more on The Guardian website.

Home Secretary announces £1 million to help communities support refugees


A new £1 million funding pot to help community groups support refugees fleeing the war in Syria to settle in the UK has been announced.

The funding was announced by the Home Secretary to mark the one year anniversary of the community sponsorship scheme (Wednesday 19 July).

The community sponsorship scheme, which was launched by the Home Secretary at Lambeth Palace last year, enables community groups to take on the role of supporting refugees who have been resettled from the camps in the countries surrounding Syria in the UK.

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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.

Read more

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.