Responding To COVID-19: Advice and Guidance For Community Sponsorship Groups

To Our Community Sponsors,

At this time of unprecedented upheaval, we hope that you, your Sponsor Group, and your resettled family are all keeping safe and well.

While times may be tough and challenging, they also present a unique opportunity to show kindness, compassion and determination. So we want to let you know that we are here to help you when needed. 

To ensure a pragmatic approach to this highly complex situation, we will guide you through the most important steps of the sponsorship journey and how to best weather the storm in each of them. 

 

Keeping up to date with the latest information and guidance

First and foremost, it is crucial that all volunteers are keeping up to date with the latest guidance from the NHS website relating to Coronavirus. With regular updates, each volunteer has a responsibility to stay tuned to recent changes and developments from both the NHS and the government.

For more specific information relating to Community Sponsorship, Reset has created a comprehensive guide to dealing with Coronavirus as a Community Sponsor Group which you can find here. It covers helpful information regarding benefits, ESOL classes, and wellbeing.

 

Conference Call for Community Sponsorship Groups

We will be holding a conference call on this Friday 27th March at 1 -2pm. 

This will be a recurring call every Friday from 1-2pm and the login details remain the same.

If you would like to join these calls, please email communitysponsorship@citizensuk.org - we will send you the details. 

At a time when we must distance ourselves physically, it is more important than ever to face challenges together in solidarity.  For this reason, we have arranged the above mentioned conference call. It allows you to connect with other sponsors and share some of the challenges as well as hear wisdom from others who may already have a solution.    

If you have a particular question (or solution) you would like to share, please email communitysponsorship@citizensuk.org in advance of the call so we can incorporate it on the agenda.

 

How to support resettled families during this time

We have developed a tool to help you plan how you will support your family during this time. 

DOWNLOAD COVID-19 PLANNING TOOL

If you have any questions, please contact communitysponsorship@citizensuk.org

The tool also includes links to some useful resources. 

 

Update on Arrivals and Applications

On Monday, 17 March 2020, the UNHCR released a statement announcing that all resettlement departures for refugees have been temporarily suspended. The Home Office is currently in touch with groups impacted by this suspension.

Remember, this is a 𝙩𝙚𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙖𝙧𝙮 measure in force only as long as it remains essential.

Please do continue to prepare your application.

 

To guide you through these changes to the usual procedure, our team will continue to provide phone, email and Skype support. The Home Office is still reviewing applications and are holding Pre-Approval Visits by telephone.

If you have received approval and are waiting to be matched with a family, please contact your Home Office Contact Officer for updates.

 

Renting or securing a property

You are strongly urged to not sign any tenancy agreements where you are asked to accept a financial commitment, until further news is available on arrivals.

If you have been approved, and are currently paying rent on an empty property, the Home Office have agreed to pay all rent, council tax and utilities from the date of approval until 12 April. 

Due to the uncertainty of the situation, they cannot commit to reimbursements beyond this date. 

We encourage you to explore the possibility of sub-letting/AirBnB’ing your property – particularly if you have not yet received approval for your application.

 

Self-Care

In the midst of the turmoil, there is nothing more important than protecting your own health and well-being, because only then are you able to assist those who need you the most. 

During these trying times, information is key and we work to provide all the necessary updates to keep you on top of your Community Sponsorship journey.  

Do not hesitate to call your Citizens UK or Sponsor Refugees contact for support or guidance in the first instance. You can contact us on communitysponsorship@citizensuk.org too.

Thank you for the vital work you are doing.

 

Be well,

Citizens UK and Sponsor Refugees Team


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