Just two families resettled under UK community refugee sponsorship scheme

Six months after its launch at Lambeth Palace, the British Government’s community refugee sponsorship scheme has welcomed just two Syrian families to the UK.

The Guardian newspaper reports comments by the The Open Society Foundation saying that the delay “risked squandering the resources of hundreds of volunteers happy to help save the government time and money”. The charity supports community groups seeking to support the resettlement of refugee families.

“Dozens of community groups ready and willing to take the burden for resettling refugees off the government’s shoulders but their applications have been stuck in a queue for six months.”

Photo: Lambeth PalaceIn July 2016 the Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed a family to a cottage in the grounds of Lambeth Palace. Speaking at that launch, Home Secretary Amber Rudd spoke of how the scheme would “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”.

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

However, only one other family has been resettled under the community sponsorship scheme.

The Home Office say there has been considerable interest in the scheme that they intended “would start on a small scale”, adding that “supporting a vulnerable resettled family is a significant responsibility and it is only right that we carefully assess every sponsoring organisation”.