There's one question every Community Sponsorship Group is asking us: When will resettlement resume?
Carly Whyborn, Head of Operations at Reset
Without a doubt, the best part of our work at Reset is connecting with Groups and the families they support. We talk to Groups at all stages of the Community Sponsorship process, from exploring who their Lead Sponsor will be, right through to helping newly arrived families navigate the benefits system. The advice and support we provide is based on the best practice, challenges and creative solutions to problems Groups have shared with us, as well as our knowledge of refugee resettlement.
Community Sponsorship Groups have not slowed down since Coronavirus hit the UK, despite arrivals through the UK’s refugee resettlement schemes being halted in March. We have seen new Groups form and fundraise, others have applied to the Home Office and more are receiving approval to welcome too. Like Local Authorities up and down the UK, Community Sponsorship Groups are ready to welcome and, alongside other charities and organisations including us at Reset, urge the UK Government to resume the resettlement of refugees.
We’ve taken a look at what Community Sponsorship Groups are talking to us about, both through our virtual drop ins and the calls and emails we receive. Since flights were stopped in March, over 40% of the enquiries we’ve received have been to do with flights resuming. It’s something all Groups need to know the answer to and the answer dictates everything that Groups can do. Should they be fundraising? Starting volunteer recruitment? When should they attend training? Find a home? Submit their application? Frustratingly, we currently have no answer for these Groups. We understand that the UK Government must ensure that public health is maintained for both those families arriving and the neighbourhoods they will be resettled to, but with France resuming resettlement and IOM and UNHCR restarting their operations in June, now is the time for refugees to be welcomed into the UK again.
The resettlement programmes that are currently in place (soon to be replaced by UKRS) provide the only safe and legal route for refugees coming to the UK. Community Sponsorship is a part of these programmes. Local Authorities have resettled the majority of families through the schemes whether that’s through their own resettlement teams or via resettlement agencies. We, and Community Sponsorship Groups around the country, join their calls for resettlement to start again as a matter of urgency.
Hear from Catherine Griffiths, founder of the first Community Sponsorship Group in North Wales, on why she's calling for people to email their MPs to restart resettlement.
There's one question every Community Sponsorship Group is asking us: When will resettlement resume? is also published in Reset UK on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.