The Methodist Church in Birmingham will be the first organisation in the city to support a family of Syrian refugees under the UK government’s community sponsorship scheme that was launched in July.
The family of four will form part of Birmingham’s commitment to take in 500 Syrian refugees over the next five years. So far, 50 have arrived and are settling in Birmingham.
Rev David Butterworth told the newspaper:
“We hope that this family will be the first of many fleeing wars and horrors abroad that the Church can provide with sanctuary and love …
“To be able to provide a safe welcome to a refugee family is a wonderful privilege. The Methodist Church has worked very closely with Birmingham City Council to arrive at this point.”
Citizens UK, the National Refugee Welcome Board and the Progressive Jewish Community and Sisters of Mercy Birmingham have all been of support to their application.
Government immigration minister Robert Goodwill added his welcome, saying:
“I am delighted that the Methodist Church are taking part in the scheme, with the full support of Birmingham City Council, and I wholeheartedly encourage other organisations that can help to offer their support.”
While stressing that this was a pilot scheme in the city and would be evaluated before committing to further sponsorship applications, Birmingham’s Labour cabinet member for communities Cllr Waseem Zaffar said “this is a great first step”.
“What is happening in Syria is a human catastrophe and it is only right that we do all we can to offer shelter to people fleeing for their lives, something Birmingham has a proud history of. We will continue to work with partners to ensure refugees coming to Birmingham are settled and able to integrate into the city and start a new life here.”