Church Response for Refugees has organised five events this week across England and Wales to help church groups find out more about community sponsorship, listen to testimonies from current sponsors, and get advice from experienced organisations on how your church can sponsor a family to resettle in the UK.
- Monday 17 July at 10am – Kingston upon Thames
- Tuesday 18 July at 5.30pm – Manchester (Salford)
- Wednesday 19 July at 4.30pm – Birmingham
- Wednesday 19 July at 4.30pm – Bristol
- Thursday 20 July at 10am – Aberystwyth
An article about the roadshows in Christian Today explains about the Canadian experience of supporting community sponsorship schemes.
The community sponsorship scheme in Canada started in 1979, when the Mayor of Ottawa, Marion Dewar, was shocked by scenes of men, women and children in peril on the sea. She wasted little time in confronting the Canadian Immigration Minister on her country’s response to the Vietnamese Boat crisis. Having already committed to resettle four thousand refugees, the minister conceded that he could take a further four thousand if only he had somewhere to put them. Marion Dewar declared, ‘We’ll take the other four’. In the next three years churches and community groups in Ottawa resettled more than four thousand refugees. To date, Canadian communities and citizens have resettled almost 288,000 refugees.
What is Community Sponsorship?
Community Sponsorship is a practical way for communities to help transform the lives of a vulnerable refugee family who are being resettled to the UK. Sponsor groups take on the responsibility of welcoming them into their new environment and supporting them on their journey as they build a new life. Sponsor groups are matched with a refugee family from the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme and support them from their moment of arrival in the UK to self-sufficiency.
Why get involved?
Community groups can make a huge difference to the lives of resettled refugees. The evidence shows that their networks can help refugees settle more quickly and better address past experiences. Sponsors help them to practice English, find
employment quicker and access services. This experience has also been transformative for sponsors, bringing people together through practical support.