From an incredibly strong field of nominations, five Local Authorities were shortlisted: Ceredigion County Council, East Lindsey District Council, Bristol City Council, Bury Council and Liverpool City Council.
The award this year went to Ceredigion County Council, in light of their outstanding commitment to supporting local people to resettle refugees. We are delighted that their work has been recognised in this way.
Cathryn Morgan from Ceredigion County Council said, 'I first heard about Community Sponsorship three and a half years ago. Now, knowing that groups have used their initiative to welcome refugees to our area makes me even prouder of Ceredigion than I was before -- and I'm pleased to have been a part of that. I urge all Local Authorities to find out how they can best support Community Sponsorship -- and to make the most of the resources available to you in the process.'
Why Reset funded the Local Authority award
Community Sponsorship would not happen without the support of Local Authorities.
At Reset, we’ve seen that Community Sponsorship is most successful where Groups work in partnership with their Local Authorities. That’s why we recommend that Groups start the conversation about their plans with their Local Authorities as soon as they can.
Many Local Authorities work very hard to ensure that Community Sponsorship is a success in their area. They do this in different ways. We’ve seen Local Authorities support Group members to find out about all the local services and networks that could benefit the refugee family when they arrive. We’ve seen Local Authorities offer frank and honest resettlement advice based on their own experiences of resettling vulnerable refugees over many years. And we’ve seen Local Authorities help ensure that Groups are able to take advantage of funding opportunities made available through the Home Office.
Providing consent to a Community Sponsorship Group if you work in a Local Authority is not as easy as it might sound. We work with Local Authority officers, councillors and senior managers to unpack what consent means to them, the impact it may have on other services, what support they need to have in place, and how they can best support Community Sponsorship Groups. Community Sponsorship is still a young programme, so Local Authorities are often having to find out what the programme is and their role in it, and this can take time.
It’s important for us to recognise the valuable work that Local Authorities make to Community Sponsorship.
What Reset is doing to help more Local Authorities support Community Sponsorship
Reset offers advice and guidance to Local Authorities. We cover topics including:
what ‘Local Authority consent’ actually means to you
How Local Authorities in two tier council areas can work together to provide consent to Community Sponsorship Groups
what commitments Local Authorities make when they consent to Community Sponsorship
what has worked well in other Local Authorities
What Reset is doing to support Groups to build relationships with Local Authorities
Reset offers an application workshop based around ‘Forming Relationships and Gaining Consent’. A key focus in this workshop is building relationships with your Local Authority.
Community Sponsorship provides a special opportunity for local residents and Local Authority staff to work together to make their home as welcoming as possible for a new family. These partnerships make civil society stronger.
If you’re a Local Authority or a Community Sponsorship Group member and you want to learn more about effective ways of working together, just get in touch.
Local Authorities recognised at the Community Sponsorship Awards 2019 is also published in Reset UK on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.