The 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.’’
Community Sponsorship gives power to local volunteer groups to resettle a refugee family in their neighbourhood. It is a big commitment, but hugely rewarding – and Sponsor Refugees is here to help every step of the way.
Groups need to:
- Find and furnish an affordable home for a refugee family for a period of 2 years
- Raise at least £9,000 (to cover various costs like translation, furnishing the house, and English classes)
- Welcome the family at the airport and settle them in their new community (helping them register for benefits, access health services and enroll children in schools)
- Provide support and encouragement to the family for one year so that they can live securely and independently
What are the benefits of Community Sponsorship?
Community Sponsorship transforms the lives of both the family and volunteers. Find out what groups and families have said.
- It Is a practical way for local people to respond to the global refugee crisis
- It provides a safe and legal route for refugees to come to the UK
- It makes maximum use of the capacity, commitment and networks of citizens to help refugees
- It improves the chances of refugees to settle in, learn English and find work
- It strengthens community bonds
- It sends a strong message that refugees are welcome in the UK
Who can sponsor a family?
Everyone! There are more than 150 Community Sponsorship groups across the UK. Some are long-established groups, such as faith institutions, colleges or workplaces. Others began as a group of friends with a common interest. Some are groups of neighbours who had never met before but came together through their shared desire to transform the life of a vulnerable refugee family.
Who can be sponsored?
Click here to see the criteria of who can be resettled to the UK through community sponsorship
Sounds great! How do I get started?
Then contact our team, and we will guide you through the process: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We believe that community sponsorship of refugees should be celebrated, and that inspirational groups, individuals and local authorities should be recognised for the work they put in to make community sponsorship a success. That is why we organise the annual Community Sponsorship Awards.
The awards are also an opportunity to promote the scheme, for people across the UK to build relationships, and to hear motivational stories of welcome.
Community Sponsorship Awards 2019
Nominations are now open for the 2019 Community Sponsorship Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony at Canada House in London’s Trafalgar Square on the evening of Tuesday 8th October. Time to nominate and get your Community Sponsorship champions recognised.
The Local Authrority of the Year Award is sponsored by Reset Communities and Refugees where as The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initative (GRSI) sponsors the International Award. The Awards Ceremoney is hosted by Canada House.
Remember nominations close on Friday 5th July 2019. Hence please nominate your champions today.
You can make your nominations via this on-line form.
Community Sponsorship Awards 2018
The First Annual Community Sponsorship Awards Ceremony took place on 2nd October 2018 at The Royal Society, London, in the presence of more than 250 people who gathered from across the United Kingdom, Canada, and the USA. They were organised by Sponsor Refugees in partnership with IOHR and GRSI.
Pioneer Awards 2017
The launch of Sponsor Refugees on 9th October 2017 saw three Pioneer Awards presented to those who have worked tirelessly to make community sponsorship a reality. The awards were presented by Ahmad Al-Rashid and the children from one of the first resettled families.