Reset is the UK’s Community Sponsorship learning hub. We were set up in 2018 to coordinate the growth of the Community Sponsorship movement across the UK to ensure it realises its full, transformative potential.
All Community Sponsorship groups must be trained by us in order for the Home Office to approve their application to resettle a refugee family. Our training covers the whole Community Sponsorship journey, from planning an application to preparing for the family’s arrival. We also support Local Authorities and Lead Sponsors as they prepare to work alongside groups. Our support continues throughout the first year of integration and we have regular meetings with everyone involved to track progress, identify any emerging issues and offer support.
We commission and fund research and conduct monitoring and evaluation aimed at understanding how Community Sponsorship works best. We also undertake policy development and advocacy to ensure the evolution of the scheme in a way that works for sponsored refugees and host communities.
We receive funding from the UK Home Office as well as from philanthropic organisations.
Meet the Reset Team
I am an experienced voluntary sector leader, researcher and educator. Most recently, I led local charity Learn English at Home (LEAH), training local volunteers to teach English to refugee and migrant adults with very low language levels. My first career was as a secondary school Citizenship teacher and I have a PhD in learning theory.
"I believe strongly in the power of individuals and communities to bring about change. At LEAH I saw how effective local community members could be in supporting new arrivals to integrate through language, and as a teacher of Citizenship I know how much young people are motivated to make a difference. I am proud to be part of the growth of Community Sponsorship: a unique way to change a family’s life and your community."
I come to Reset from a background in charities (I was previously Head of Programmes at a global education charity) and government; I spent almost ten years with the Federal Government in Australia. I've also spent time in academia, when I gained a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics. A common thread through all my experiences is an interest in international issues, and in helping people gain the skills and confidence to be their best; a narrative that fits well with Reset's work.
"I have always been aware of the complex, sensitive, and deeply rewarding experience that refugee integration involves. My parents were refugees, and I understand first hand how community support and engagement can make all the difference to refugee families, and their communities, across generations. The opportunity to lead Reset and champion a cause I feel so strongly about is a gift and a challenge I'm thrilled to accept."
Head of Operations
I have a varied role at Reset, leading our training and advice team, managing programmes supporting all of those involved in the Community Sponsorship programme and looking after all areas of the operational side of the charity. I have over 15 years’ experience working in senior positions in the charity sector, including roles in genocide memorial, human rights and animal welfare. I volunteer with my local food bank and support asylum seekers and refugees locally.
"I am so inspired by the individuals coming together through sponsorship to welcome a refugee family into their community. Sharing a purpose to do something good for others, I am constantly amazed at the great lengths that those in the UK will go to help resettled families to create a new home. I want to make sure that Reset can offer all the advice, support and encouragement that groups need to support and empower families resettled through Community Sponsorship."
Training, Support and Advice Coordinator - currently on maternity leave
My role is to develop training resources and to provide capacity building to Community Sponsorship Groups. I am here to support groups throughout each stage of the process in order to successfully welcome a refugee family in their communities. I have a master’s degree in Violence, Conflict and Development and have over five years of international field experience in refugee resettlement. Most recently, I worked at UNHCR Jordan where my role was to review resettlement referrals for the UK and other European countries and to deliver standardised training to national and international caseworkers.
"I strongly believe in resettlement as a durable solution for those in protracted refugee situations as it is not only a way to offer a new beginning to those affected by conflict but it is also a tool for responsibility sharing within the international community. I am inspired by groups who have decided to take on a share of the international community’s responsibility by welcoming and supporting refugee families in their own communities, demonstrating the power that individuals can wield to make a difference in global issues."
Training, Support and Advice Coordinator
Before joining Reset I worked for 3 years in a charity commissioned by several Local Authorities in London to deliver refugee resettlement programmes. I was a manager responsible for the operational side of work, line managing and providing support to caseworkers allocated to the families. My passion for working with refugees and migrants comes from what I learned during my MA in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen and from my personal experiences of migration. I am also a trustee at a local social centre for migrants.
"I believe that each one of us has the capacity to make a difference to the world. The Community Sponsorship scheme gives people across the UK a unique opportunity not only to be part of a solution to a global humanitarian crisis, but also to positively change lives of others. Now, at the beginning of my journey with Reset, I feel excited to be able to support the amazing work that Community Sponsorship Groups across the country do."
Communications and External Affairs Coordinator
I come from Durham and first began working with refugees and asylum seekers in the North East as a teenager. I went on to study Arabic at Oxford University and spent a year in Amman where, alongside my studies, I volunteered with Oxfam’s Syrian refugee support programme. I completed a Master’s degree in Migration Studies at SOAS and worked as a Community Advocate in North London before starting work with Reset.
"I'm excited by Community Sponsorship because of the potential to engage more people in the UK positively in the processes of providing refuge and asylum to those in need of protection."
Training, Advice and Support Coordinator
Having previously worked in refugee resettlement for many years, I am deeply committed to ensuring refugees are welcomed into the UK and given the support to rebuild their lives. I have a Master's degree in Human Rights, which has strengthened my resolve to uphold the human rights of refugees and has taught me how countries such as the UK can provide humanitarian assistance in so many ways. In my role at Reset, I hope to advocate for Community Sponsorship and make the journey, for both the Community Sponsorship groups and refugee families, as smooth as possible.
"I believe in the UK there are so many people who want to help, and community sponsorship allows groups to tap into both the resources and compassion that exists in communities across the UK. By doing so, communities are welcoming refugee families and giving them the chance to reclaim their lives in a safe and caring environment."
Resource and Content Creator
I am responsible for developing the training website and other resources at Reset, to help support Community Sponsorship groups and families that are being resettled. I bring a variety of skills and experience to the role including primary school teaching, working in charity communications and running a graphic design business. My journey into Community Sponsorship has been through providing design, website and media support for a local lead sponsor in the South West, who work in close partnership with Reset.
"Community Sponsorship is a unique opportunity for local people to respond to a global challenge and make a real difference to the lives individuals and families. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to improving the lives of those escaping conflict and persecution around the world."
My interest in refugee and migration issues was sparked while taking border studies courses during my Geography degree at the University of Edinburgh. Following my studies, I worked for a humanitarian organisation in Malta that operated locally and internationally to support refugees and migrants. During my time abroad, I also trained in TEFL and taught English to young people seeking asylum. Within my role at Reset, I hope to share the positive impacts of Community Sponsorship with as many people as possible, and ensure that both prospective sponsors and active Community Sponsorship groups receive the support they need.
"I am proud to join the Reset team and contribute to the organisation’s efforts to ensure that Community Sponsorship is thriving. Community Sponsorship is a crucial safe and legal route to the UK for vulnerable people in need of protection, and one that can be life-changing for both the families that are supported and the communities that welcome them."
Meet the Reset trustees
Reset’s Board of Trustees has been selected to bring together a high calibre group who have the knowledge of the sector and the skills to govern and appropriately scrutinise the work of the organisation. Current membership is:
Chris is a Director of Social Finance, a not for profit who partner with likeminded organisations to rethink and tackle some of the toughest social issues. He leads the Impact Incubator, a partnership with a number of leading UK charitable foundations working to drive systemic change. As part of this Chris has worked deeply on refugee issues in recent years, including supporting the development of Community Sponsorship and co-founding Reset. He became its first Director on launch before handing over responsibility in late 2018. Chris’s background is predominantly in the voluntary sector, where he was previously the Group Operations Director for a large UK community development charity, and has led the development of new initiatives and projects across a number of not-for-profit organisations.
Paul is the Church of England Bishop of Durham; as such he is also a member of the House of Lords. He has taken a leading role for the Chruch of England on refugee matters over the past 3 years. He co-chaired the National Refugee Welcome Board for its first 18 months and sat on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Refugees Inquiry ‘Refugees Welcome’
Mais is a Bi-Lingual professional with wide international experience combining technology, innovation, markets and economic development. Passionate about inspiring nations, bridging need with expertise, and linking universities with Industry. A strategic business developer and professional networker with several years of commercial and partnering experience with a focus on business support for SMEs. Currently Mais is the Programme Director of "The Human Safety Net for Refugees" in Europe and a Senior Advisor to “Improve Employment Opportunities Programme" in Jordan. She is also on the Board of the Anglo Jordanian Society, a UK registered Charity.
Helen is a senior civil servant in government, with over ten years experience. Helen has worked in a range of posts across different departments and has experience of working with non-government organisations and charities. She is excited and proud to be a part of the important work of Reset.
Rich is an experienced public affairs and policy professional who has led political advocacy projects for a range of non-governmental organisations. He currently works as an advisor to the leadership of the British Medical Association and is a former Head of Public Affairs, Policy and Research at the social mixing charity The Challenge, where he established and led the secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration. Rich has advised the Mayor of London on cohesion policy and is the author of numerous research reports on immigration, integration and community empowerment.
Hilary is a Chartered Accountant with over 40 years' experience. She recently retired from her general practice where she worked both with businesses and charities. She now assists a number of charities both in the UK and overseas. She is a member of her local Community Sponsorship Group. As she finds being a Community Sponsorship volunteer so rewarding, joining the Reset Board seemed a logical progression.
Tim was involved in the setting up of community sponsorship of refugees as coordinator of the National Refugee Welcome Board and founding director of Sponsor Refugees. He founded the migration communications agency IMiX and before that was head of migration research at the think tank IPPR. He was director of communications at the Refugee Council, after a career as a BBC journalist. Tim is a novelist. His latest novel Peace Talks was shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award in 2020. He is a volunteer member of Peckham Sponsors Refugees, which welcomed a refugee family to Peckham in 2019.
Shilla has substantial strategic leadership and senior management experience acquired from roles in operations management, project management, technical leadership, line management and clinical research. Among other things, she has led and managed complex, fast-paced, 24/7 operations in heavily-regulated scientific environments. Shilla is a published researcher with a PhD in Immunology. Having recently studied “Corporate Governance, Risk and Control” as part of her MBA, Shilla is passionate about board diversity, inclusive leadership and stakeholder-inclusive corporate governance. In supporting Reset’s work, Shilla draws on her experience as an ethnic minority immigrant. Shilla attends a church involved in Community Sponsorship.
After leaving school Ellie worked as cabin crew for British Airways and travelled the world… well, the airports! Marriage and children followed, as well as teacher training. After a long career as a primary school teacher, including two headships, Ellie relocated from Oxford to Cornwall. As part of her own resettlement to a new area, Ellie went along to a meeting of local people in Bude who wanted to urge the council in Cornwall to resettle refugees. From that meeting, one of the first Community Sponsorship groups in the UK emerged. Since then, Ellie has supported many Community Sponsorship groups across Cornwall and has spoken about her experience at conferences in South West England and to an international audience. For Ellie, taking early retirement has led to a whole new career as a volunteer in several fields and she is very interested in what volunteers bring to and gain from Community Sponsorship.