A year after the Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed a Syrian refugee family to live at Lambeth Palace, it seems that the community sponsorship scheme – which initially struggled to gain momentum due to Home Office processes that were not well oiled – seems to be picking up speed.
Mayor David Henderson from Brockville Ontario in Canada is participating in this week’s community sponsorship roadshows organised by Church Response For Refugees. In an interview, he told Premier Radio:
“We’re excited about it because it’s been hugely successful for us and it’s something that many small communities across the country have been part of. Faith based groups are the back bone of it and it’s working – it’s saving lives.”
In Canada, Henderson has witnessed the transformative effect of groups welcoming families into their local communities.
“You just have to see their response when they sign the papers – the smiles on the faces of the kids. Only two weeks before they were uncertain about their future in a warzone and now their only problem is what sort of house they’re going to live in.”
Church Response For Refugees’s Russ Rook commented on the scale of the worldwide refugee plight:
“We’ve got 22.5 million refugees in the world right now. We’re talking about 24 people being forced to flee their homes every minute somewhere in this world due to war. This problem is not going away: it’s getting bigger.”
You can hear Russ’ interview on Premier Christian Radio on their website.