William Eichler 19 July 2016

Community sponsorship scheme to support refugees launched

A new scheme encouraging community groups to sponsor refugee families was launched today by the Home Secretary and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Full Community Sponsorship scheme will enable community groups including charities, faith groups, churches and businesses, to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees in the UK.

‘The response of the British public to the refugee crisis has been one of overwhelming generosity and many have been moved to make kind offers of assistance,’ the home secretary Amber Rudd said.

‘This is a ground-breaking new development for resettlement in the UK and I wholeheartedly encourage organisations that can help to offer their support.’

‘I hope that this new approach will help bring communities together and support these often traumatised and vulnerable families as they rebuild their lives, and contribute to and thrive in our country,’ the home secretary added.

In September 2015 the Government pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees and the latest published statistics show that more than 1,800 Syrians in need of protection have so far been provided with refuge.

More than 160 local authorities have to date signed up to accept refugees on a voluntary basis.

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: ‘Councils have a strong track record of supporting refugees and will continue to ensure the success of the resettlement programme.

‘We look forward to working with Government as well as new and potential sponsors as the pilot stage is rolled out to ensure new arrivals have the support they need to settle into their new homes.

‘Making sure that councils are able to approve all new groups offering sponsorship support is vital to ensuring this scheme thrives.’

A new website - Help Refugees in the UK - is also being piloted in the City of Nottingham, Broxtowe, Wiltshire, Cornwall, Cambridge, Coventry, Gateshead, City of York and Lambeth.

It has been designed to enable local authorities to specify the type of donations they most require to support refugees in their area and if it is successful it will be integrated into the gov.uk website.

Photo: Malcolm P Chapman / Shutterstock.com

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