Happy New Year from Reset's Directors, Kate & Monika
We want to thank everyone who has volunteered with Community Sponsorship over the last year. Your dedication has provided all of us at Reset with a constant source of inspiration throughout 2019, and we know that you will continue to inspire us throughout 2020.
The new year is always an important time to reflect and set goals so we wanted to take this opportunity to update you on Community Sponsorship’s successes in 2019, and to highlight some important opportunities coming up in 2020.
Celebrating Community Sponsorship’s achievements
Community Sponsorship is now underway in all four nations of the UK! 2019 saw the first Community Sponsorship Groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland welcome refugees. At the same time we’ve also seen Community Sponsorship mature as Groups in Wales and the South West of England welcomed refugee families for the second time. It’s wonderful to see Community Sponsorship becoming embedded in the fabric of our towns, cities and villages.
An important testament to this success was the decision by the Home Secretary to extend the Community Sponsorship scheme by another year, and to announce that the refugees resettled through Community Sponsorship will be in addition to – not part of – the Government’s own targets. At its heart, Community Sponsorship is about mobilising and harnessing the potential of civil society, over and above what Government alone can achieve. We believe that removing Community Sponsorship from the Government’s targets is an important step towards realising the full potential of our communities to welcome refugees.
We also know that high quality training and advice is essential for Community Sponsorship to flourish. In early 2019, we made the decision to bring the Community Sponsorship Training in-house at Reset and appointed Meredith Kelly as our Training, Support and Advice Coordinator. This year, we’ve delivered trainings and workshops to more than 700 people from more than 60 Groups. We’re especially proud that you’ve rated our sessions as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ 100% of the time. Building on this success by continuing to listen to what Groups need is a key priority for us in the coming year.
Finally, it’s important to remember that although Community Sponsorship is about local integration, it’s also about a global shift towards welcoming refugees. You’re all now part of a global movement of welcome. Community Sponsorship is getting underway in countries including Ireland, Germany and Brazil. They’re looking at the UK – at all of us – for inspiration. We can all feel very proud.
Looking forward to 2020
2020 is set to be a very exciting year for Community Sponsorship as we transition from the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) to the new Global Resettlement Scheme. This transition will happen once the Home Office reaches its target of resettling 20,000 refugees through the VPRS. The Home Office is confident that it will meet this target in the spring of 2020.
The main implication of this transition for Community Sponsorship is that we’ll be resettling refugees from a wider range of countries. We’re aware that some of you have concerns around how you’ll source interpreters if you don’t know which country the refugees will be coming from, so we want to reassure you that we’ll be providing advice and guidance as the new scheme approaches.
You can all play a part in shaping how Community Sponsorship evolves over the next year. In July 2019, we held the first ever Community Sponsorship Assembly. The Assembly saw Community Sponsorship Groups from all over the UK come together to celebrate Community Sponsorship and consider how we can make this movement as successful as possible.
If you want to shape the Community Sponsorship movement, coming to the 2020 Assembly is a good place to start! Details will be released in Reset’s newsletter and on the Community Sponsorship calendar in the coming months. We look forward to seeing you there!
Another great way to take part in Community Sponsorship on a strategic level is to contribute to the the Community Sponsorship Council, which we launched in the summer. The Council exists to represent the views of Community Sponsorship Groups – your views — to us at Reset and to the Home Office. Find out how you can contribute.
Can we ask one favour?
We know that you’re already putting lots of time and energy into Community Sponsorship, but we do have one small request of you for 2020…
We’ve heard so many wonderful stories from you throughout 2019 – stories that we know could inspire so many more people to set up Community Sponsorship Groups in their neighbourhoods. But still so many people haven’t heard of Sponsorship.
So we’re asking you to consider this as a New Year’s Resolution: tell one new person about what you’re doing every week. It could be a friend, it could be a colleague, it could be someone you start chatting to on the train. Anyone at all.
What you’re doing is so amazing, we want the world to know. Make it your New Year’s resolution to spread the word!
With best wishes for the New Year,
Kate & Monika
Happy New Year from Reset's Directors, Kate & Monika is also published in Reset UK on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.