1st Community Sponsorship Council Meeting
Hear from the Chair of the Community Sponsorship Council 2019-2020 about the first meeting, held on 9th October 2019.
My name is Father Gareth Jones and I’m the Chair of the Community Sponsorship Council for the year October 2019-2020. In this blog I’ll explain what the role of the Council is, why I put myself forward to be elected as Chair of this Council, and what we discussed at our first meeting on 9th October 2019. I’ll also explain how you can use the Council to make your voice heard.
What is the Community Sponsorship Council?
The Community Sponsorship Council exists to represent the views of Community Sponsorship Groups across the UK to Reset, which is the charity coordinating the Community Sponsorship movement nationally. Reset will convey the views of the Council to the Home Office and work with them to develop the scheme.
The Council is made up of 3 representatives of Community Sponsorship Groups as well as representatives from Lead Sponsor organisations. Find out more about who is on the Council and how representatives were selected.
Why I put myself forward to Chair the Council
I’ve been involved in Community Sponsorship for a couple of years and it’s a scheme I feel passionately about. I want to make sure that more and more communities get involved and more and more refugees are resettled through this scheme.
When the opportunity arose to be a member of the Council, I immediately felt that this would be a great way for me to contribute to the movement. I put myself forward as a member of Refugee Welcome Dagenham at the Community Sponsorship Assembly in Birmingham in July 2019 and was elected by the other Group members there that day. I then put myself forward to Chair the Council to ensure that I’m contributing as much as possible and was happy to be elected by my fellow Council members.
My hope is that I can Chair the Council so that it effectively represents the views of all Community Sponsorship Groups. I’m particularly concerned to reach out and connect with those Groups that may feel a bit disconnected from Reset, the Home Office and the wider movement.
What happened at the first Community Sponosrship Council meeting
The first meeting of the Council was on 9th October 2019 at the Ismaili Centre. As with any first meeting, we had to devote some time to agreeing the practicalities of the meetings going forward. We agreed that we need to meet at least twice more before the next Community Sponsorship Assembly and that we think it’s important that these meetings don’t all take place in London. When the date and venue for the next meeting is announced, we will update the Reset website.
The most important discussion that we had was about the importance of opening up pathways for family reunion. Those of us who work with refugee families resettled through Community Sponsorship know that often their number one concern is for the family members that they’ve had to leave behind. We conveyed our views to Reset’s board of trustees that family reunion needs to be high on the agenda and we’ll continue our discussions on this at the next meeting.
If you want to feed in to these discussions, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.