London, 1 April 2022. Today, Reset Communities and Refugees, a charity leading UK community sponsorship since 2018, is launching a matching and training service for sponsors and refugees under the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, with support from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). It will bring together sponsors and refugees and assess their eligibility and suitability for the scheme. It will also provide training and advice to the sponsors and community groups.
Homes for Ukraine launched two weeks ago for Ukrainian nationals with a named sponsor, and DLUHC has been working to expand the scheme to those without a match. Reset has been working, with support from DLUHC, on a pilot service that matches refugees with sponsors, and the charity hopes to roll this out as widely as possible.
To date, over 7000 refugees have registered on the Reset website along with over 8000 UK households, offering places for over 20,000 refugees. Reset is offering this matching service to sponsors, refugees, devolved governments, local authorities and refugee organisations who do not have alternative means of pairing refugees and sponsors together.
DLUHC has provided an initial grant of £300,000 to help design the matching process. Reset is also working closely with the Welsh and Scottish governments, as well as local authorities across England and Northern Ireland, to help them in matching sponsors and refugees.
Kate Brown, CEO of Reset Communities and Refugees, said:
"This is an extraordinary moment for the refugee welcome movement in the UK. With 200,000 people signed up to offer their homes under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and hundreds of thousands more offering support, we are in a position to help more refugees than ever before. We must make sure that there are fair and rigorous systems in place to support the refugees and sponsors as they embark on this programme."
Refugees Minister Lord Harrington said:
“The Prime Minister appointed me to this job to facilitate safe and speedy passage of vulnerable Ukrainian evacuees. I am delighted and grateful that Reset are working with us to bring more people safely to the UK.”
To facilitate a rigorous matching system, trained caseworkers and volunteers, led by safeguarding experts, will provide a comprehensive assessment service. They will assess the sponsors’ intent, suitability, and availability while checking that the accommodation they are offering is appropriate. Sponsors will also need to complete an online mandatory training programme before the matching process begins. Sponsors who have already completed an EOI on the government website will need to register on the Reset matching website as well to be considered for a match.
The matching team will also be carrying out assessments of the refugees to understand their personal circumstances and if they have particular ties to a place. The sponsorship scheme will not be right for everyone, especially those suffering from severe trauma.
Once the match has been made, the sponsors and refugees will need to submit a visa application to the Home Office. The Home Office and the local authorities will be responsible for the formal vetting process.
Reset will also provide training and support for sponsors and local authorities. The training will draw on the expertise of independent charity Refugees at Home, which has been finding homes for refugees from more than 65 countries since 2015. Sponsors will need guidance on how to welcome and host refugees in their own homes. They will need support from their local communities, local authorities and other sponsors in the area. Refugees will want help with language barriers, education, health, bereavement and work.
Reset is working closely with colleagues across local authorities across the UK to ensure Reset’s service complements what they are being asked to do for the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Reset is also drawing on its deep experience of working with refugee sponsors and in partnership with other experienced refugee charities to develop matching criteria and support for the scheme.
For more information, please contact Alisa Helbitz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Editors:
Reset, a UK registered charity, leads Community Sponsorship in the UK, connecting refugees with over 300 community groups since 2018.
The matching service has gone live today and will be available to anyone who is eligible to take part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Sponsors and refugees will need to register on the Reset matching website and will be contacted by the Reset team to begin the matching process.
Reset is working with Refugees at Home, an independent UK charity, to deliver training to the sponsors. Refugees at Home connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. So far it has been responsible for placing 2,640 guests with a total of 201,183 placement nights. It is currently matching people from Ukraine with sponsors. Refugees at Home has different safeguarding and assessment measures to the Homes for Ukraine scheme, of which sponsors should be aware.
Reset is partnering with Social Finance, a UK not for profit organisation that works with communities to harness the power of data and digital to tackle social problems. Social Finance is supporting Reset on the design of a safer, robust matching process that works at scale and ensures the highest level of data security. Social Finance is Cyber Essentials Plus certified, following industry-standard best-practice configuration for its data services and performing third-party accredited audits of specific applications.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has provided an initial grant alongside charitable donations to enable Reset to develop, test and pilot a safe, effective matching process. Reset is also in discussions with the government and other donors about how they might support Reset to scale the service to meet the demand we anticipate in the coming weeks and months.
For more information and to register as sponsors or refugees, please visit: homesforukraine.org.uk