Community noticeboard

It is part of our Christian mission to ‘Welcome the Stranger’. Community Sponsorship, part of the governments Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, is a way to show our faith in action to benefit our community.

We have had the immense privilege to sponsor, support and get to know the Almasri family who arrived in September 2018.  It has been incredibly rewarding (and fun) to work with an enthusiastic and committed group of people from CTiH and the wider community to make it happen. The committee of the Hampstead Churches Community Sponsorship Group is considering whether we should now apply to the Home Office to sponsor a second refugee family. 
 
Why now?  Time is running out. The Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme under which we sponsored the Almasris could be closed down or scaled back in less than 12 months time. The government has only committed to run the programme until 2020. There are families in refugee camps waiting to come to England who need communities like ours to offer them a home. 
 
Why us? We have already developed the skills and experience that are needed. During our first application the group built up a strong understanding of the challenges involved, both for us as a group and for refugee families who come to live in the UK. We have good relationships with other community sponsorship groups and organisations who are able to provide help and support. The original process was a bureaucratic challenge but we now already have a full range of the documentation required by the Home Office. A second application will be more straight forward. The team that submitted the first application would be available and happy to help and support the second team. 
 
What do we need before we can put in a second application? There are two important considerations for us before we can decide to go ahead and apply to sponsor a second family.  
 
Firstly the provision of suitable accommodation at an affordable rent within a reasonable distance for supporters for at least two years.  If you have a property that you think may be suitable or would just like to talk about the possibility of using your property in this way please email community.sponsors@hampsteadparishchurch.org.uk
 
Secondly finding people to firstly lead the application team and then to coordinate resettling the family.  We did this with John Barker for the Almasri family. Each team will divide up the roles differently so we thought it would more helpful to briefly outline the tasks involved in submitting an application and then supporting the family to settle in rather than specify who did what in our team.  
 
Prior to arrival and ongoing:

  • Recruiting people to be responsible for key areas and agreeing tasks e.g safeguarding, finance, accommodation, education and training, health, communications, ESOL, training of befrienders etc. 
  • Coordinating input and drafting the application and resettlement plan 
  • Liaising with the local authority, the Home Office and partner organisations
  • Project management including delegating tasks, monitoring progress, sharing progress and overall review
  • Recruiting, supporting and training befrienders
  • Safeguarding checks and monitoring
  • Communications

After the family’s arrival:

  • Supporting the family settle into their new life in by coordinating the activities of befrienders and organising for the family to access necessary resources including benefits, banking, ESOL, health and education.
  • Generally helping the family to feel welcome

 
The above is an outline. If you would like to know more or think you might be interested please get in touch
 
Sheena Ginnings  email: sheena@ginnings.co.uk
Alice Sims email: alice.emily.sims@gmail.com


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