The Community Sponsorship Council

It's hugely important to Reset that the views, knowledge and experience of Community Sponsorship Groups informs and directs how we are able to support Groups and as such, in summer 2019, we ran the first nominations for members of the inaugural Community Sponsorship Council.  

We are delighted to announce that the first members of the Community Sponsorship Council are: 

  • Bob Goldsmith, Muswell Hill Methodist Church
  • Domenica Pecoraro, Canterbury Welcomes Refugees 
  • Fr Gareth Jones, Refugee Welcome Dagenham 

Terms of Reference

The Community Sponsor Council will:

  • Represent the views and concerns of the diversity of Community Sponsorship Groups
  • Provide advice to Reset and the Home Office on the future development of the Community Sponsorship scheme and the movement for sponsorship in the UK
  • Plan the annual Community Sponsor Assembly such that it best enables sharing of experiences and fostering of participation in the movement

Like the Community Sponsorship Stakeholder group, the Council will offer advice to Reset and the Home Office. However, the Council will be distinct from the Stakeholder group in:

  • Seeking to represent the views and experiences of current Community Sponsor Groups
  • Being intended as a long-term structure in the support and leadership of the Community Sponsorship movement (whilst the Stakeholder Group is fixed-term to March 2020)
  • Holding the specific responsibility of planning the annual Community Sponsor Assembly, an annual forum for group members to exchange ideas and experiences, build relationships between each other, share a sense of participation in the UK’s national movement and elect Council members to steer the Community Sponsorship movement going forward.

Community Sponsor Council membership and terms

The Council will have approximately 8 members, including:

  • A representative from each Community Sponsorship Hub
  • Up to three members from Community Sponsor Groups, elected at the annual Community Sponsorship Assembly for an annual term

 

Elected Members 2019-2020

Bob Goldsmith
As the son of a sponsored German-Jewish refugee who arrived here in 1939 as a young boy from Berlin, Bob welcomed the opportunity to reciprocate this support as an early pioneer in the resettlement of Syrian families Alongside valued colleagues, he was key to establishment of ‘Muswell Hill Methodist Church Welcomes Syrian Families’ whose family arrived in March 2018. They are now relishing life in North London. He has actively experienced each stage of the resettlement process, its challenges and pleasures, and now serves as an ambassador for Citizens UK encouraging and supporting new groups of volunteers. Discovering so many new skills through the project, and, through meeting refugee families, learning something of the Muslim faith, has been life-changing. His work career was in local government, managing political decision-making with senior councillors and co-ordinating services at a neighbourhood level in partnership with residents’ groups. Roles included leading estate regeneration, commissioning youth programmes and community development. Studying more recently for an MA in European Jewish History awakened his interest in the lives of refugees. Providing opportunity for Syrian families here to shape and influence provision of the services they receive here in the UK, and their agency in decision making, will be central to his thinking.
Domenica Pecoraro
Domenica has been the Kent Refugee Officer for the Diocese of Canterbury since 2016, and is a Trustee and volunteer at Canterbury Welcomes Refugee Prior to this, Domenica lived in Tower Hamlets, East London, where she worked on a variety of social cohesion projects for the charity sector. Domenica holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Salerno and a Master’s Degree in Social Research Methods from the University of Kent. "I fell in love with Community Sponsorship when launched in July 2016. CS is charged by everyday advocacy. It is the mean for people to live up to a narrative of solidarity across the UK. I organised round tables on with stakeholders and regional events in Kent since 2017. I facilitated Community Sponsorship awareness sessions in churches and living rooms. I am part of Canterbury Welcomes Refugees and support agencies with VPRS. I am aware of the challenges and rewards that Community Sponsorship unpacks for refugee and local families. I am here offering my passion and knowledge to the benefit of communities across the world."
Fr Gareth Jones
I am a parish priest in East London and Chair of Refugee Welcome Dagenham. I am also the Refugee Coordinator for the Church of England in Essex and East London and oversee refugee engagement and resettlement for the Diocese of Chelmsford. The Church of England is a key partner in Community Sponsorship and I hope to be able to contribute to the Community Sponsorship Council from the perspective of this partnership and with the experience of chairing and project coordinating one of the early Community Sponsorship Schemes and assisting in founding others.