In 2015, David Cameron agreed that the UK would welcome 20,000 refugees affected by the crisis in Syria by 2020. This number has not yet been achieved but Community Sponsorship offers a way for us to help one such family to have a new start.
If the Covid pandemic has taught us anything it is that the world can change so quickly and families be torn apart through no fault of their own. Add wars, famine and other natural disasters to the mix and we can see how many families are in desperate situations. There are Currently More than 70 million people displaced across the world and the United Nations estimate that 1.4 million will never be able to return home so will need safe places to start again.
We want to be part of offering a safe and legal route to a new home in the UK for a refugee family who may have lost everything.
We are a Community Group from the Nidderdale area who have come together to make this project happen. Some of us, but not all, are connected with local churches; some of us are retired, some work and some volunteer in our local community. We are excited to form a strong group who can share our skills and experience and work together to make our family feel really welcome and supported.
We need volunteers to join us to help with the application, the practical arrangements and to befriend the family once they arrive.
We need local businesses, schools, youth groups, social groups and as many people as possible to join with us to make it happen. Fundraising and practical work are going to be different during lockdown and with social distancing etc. But we think we can do it- we just need your ideas and involvement.
Could your group or school or church organise something? A quiz? an on-line auction? Take on a sponsored walk, a zoom talent competition or….. Do you know someone who might have a house to rent ? or someone who could offer work experience, or even someone who speaks arabic? Is your group looking for new members, a new challenge? or would you just like to meet new friends?
Do get in touch with your ideas or comments
What is the Community Sponsorship Scheme
Successful Community Sponsorship schemes have been set up all over the UK. Refugee families have been welcomed by groups in cities from London to Glasgow but also in small towns and villages from Devon to West Wales or the Scottish Islands. Locally we know of a group in Settle and another just getting started in Leeds.
More information about schemes around the country can be found here.
Some of us in our Nidderdale group have travelled, worked or lived abroad and been made welcome there. Some have friends or family with personal experience of war or disasters. Others just want to help and to share our safe and beautiful dale with people who need our support.
Working together as a group is a way for us to strengthen our own community too. We expect to solve problems together and to gain a sense of achievement from raising money and putting it to good use. We will get to know each other better through getting to know our refugee family and we are looking forward to learning from them and forming real friendships.
How can I get involved?
The government require we have a fund to cover the families’ expenses including interpreting services, public transport, furnishings, and any additional expenditure outside the benefits the family receive. We’ll be fundraising over the next months and would welcome donations of either one off or monthly gifts.
In addition we need to find suitable housing for the family for two years minimum, so if you or anyone you know, have a suitable property, and may be willing to consider letting to a vulnerable family, please get in touch with us.
We also urgently need anyone with ESOL or other accredited language teaching qualification, and any who would like to be part of the team that will be supporting our family once they arrive.
We’d love to hear from you if you could help in any of the following areas:
Fundraising – ideas and organising community fundraising
Housing, finding, furnishing, equipping (the family will receive housing allowances)
Making sure the family can access suitable medical and social services
Employment applying for jobs, voluntary work or training
Education registering for schools, college or English classes
Money and budgeting – to help a family understand the UK banking system, bills, taxes etc
Helping them acclimatise and understand British culture
Offering friendship and advice as they settle into their new lives.
Or if you would just like to be kept informed and invited to take part in any activities we organise, please contact us to be added to our e-mail list.
*On-line training is provided through our partner organisations and all volunteers who will have contact with the family will have appropriate checks through Catholic Care when the time comes
Help us raise funds
We need to raise a minimum of £9000 to be accepted onto this scheme and matched with a family from the thousands currently waiting in refugee camps. The funds will be used for initial costs such as house rental deposit, any furniture or equipment needed; perhaps for training courses, school uniforms or anything else to get our family set up.
As United Nations and UK Government recognised refugees, our family will be entitled to work and to access benefits, health and education services. Our role is to support them to become independent – not to support them forever – but we all know how difficult, costly and confusing moving to a new area can be. Imagine how much more so for a refugee family making a completely new start.
Please help us raise the funds we need to get this project off the ground in 2021
Donate our Gift Aid form here.