Community Sponsorship of Refugees
What Is Community Sponsorship?
‘...I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...’ – Matt. 25:35
‘May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family’ – Pope Francis, September 2015.
Community Sponsorship is a way to welcome and resettle refugees, putting local communities at the heart of a family’s journey to a new life in the UK. The community assumes responsibility for a refugee family, from first arrival through to settled independence as part of their local community.
Up and down the country catholic parishes have formed community sponsorship groups and many have welcomed their first families.
In the Archdiocese of Liverpool we currently have five parishes who are involved in this project.
How does the scheme work?
The two-year programme comprises three main elements: Housing – Funding – Support
Housing – Find and prepare a suitable, affordable family home
Funding – Raise a support fund to cover additional needs
Support – Plan and deliver a programme of resettlement support
After security screening, medical checks and initial preparation about life in the UK, sponsored families arrive with full refugee status and the right to work, school places, free healthcare, English tuition (ESOL) and State benefits.
The scheme is inspired by a Canadian model which has successfully resettled around 300,000 refugees since it began in 1978.
How is it effective?
- Frequent and intensive support by a committed group of volunteers
- Families benefit from the rich social capital of a whole community
- Strong bonds of friendship, mutual understanding and empathy
- Shared motivation and commitment to successful resettlement
“The community sponsorship scheme personalises a huge, human drama, by enabling local communities to welcome and support refugees in a real and tangible way. This scheme opens a path for people to respond with compassion, providing welcome and integration, and should be taken up as widely as possible.” – Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
What can I do next?
A more detailed guide to the scheme is available – click here to download (pdf, 2mb).
To arrange a discussion about the scheme, and for any further information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer for Refugees
For every tear streaked child
For every voiceless mother
For every desperate father
For every homeless and stateless family
We cry out to you
For those slumped in despair
For those on their knees unable to take another step
For those who look and feel hunted and hopeless
For those who live in the desperate captivity of fear
Soften our hearts
Move us to action
Fill us with compassion
Let us be channels of your love.
Lord whose family had to flee a country
Lord who had nowhere to lay your head
Lord who weeps over the city
Lord have mercy
Move us to make a difference
To act with love and understanding
To offer hope and strengthen the weak
To put the needs of the broken above our own”
(from Scotland Refugee Appeal.)
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