The Government is inviting community groups to again apply for full community sponsorship to enable them to support vulnerable families fleeing conflict to resettle and adapt in the UK.
The community sponsorship scheme launched in July last year. and aims to enable community groups including charities, faith groups, churches and businesses to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees in the UK. Lambeth Palace was the first to welcome a family but in January The Guardian reported that only one other family had been sponsored through the scheme since.
Now community groups are again being invited to apply to become sponsors. As a community sponsor, groups are allocated a family fleeing conflict, and take on the responsibility of supporting the resettled family from the moment of arrival in the UK. This will include:
- meeting the family at the airport
- providing a warm welcome and cultural orientation
- providing housing
- supporting access to medical and social services
- English language tuition
- support towards employment and self-sufficiency
This responsibility lasts for one year, with the exception of housing, where the responsibility to provide support lasts for two years.
Among the requirements of the sponsorship scheme, community groups must provide evidence that they have ring-fenced at least £9,000 that can be used if necessary to support the family, and that they have, or will have, suitable housing available.
One group currently seeking to help Syrian families is The Welcome Committee. Based in London, it is hoping to resettle two families and is currently raising money on GoFundMe to enable them to become sponsors, with a target of £20,000.
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