Russell Rook, having taken on a new role as interim director of a new international charity working in the Holy Land, has recently stepped down as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Reset. He has Chaired Reset since we were established in 2018 and we thank him for his dedication and expertise.
We’re delighted to announce that Chris Clements, founding Director of Reset, will be taking over the role of Chair. Chris is the Director of Social Finance, a not-for-profit organisation that partners with the government, the social sector and the financial community to find better ways of tackling social problems.
Hear from Russell and Chris below.
I believe that welcoming refugees is both a responsibility and a privilege. It’s the responsibility of every nation as our world is experiencing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. It’s a privilege because refugees transform our local communities and make us better. When we started calling for Community Sponsorship in 2015, I was motivated by a sense of responsibility and duty. Four years later, having seen more than 400 refugees sponsored, welcomed and integrated by UK communities, it’s the sense of privilege, that most overwhelms me.
It feels strange and also sad to be moving on from Reset. Over the last four years, most of my work has involved helping communities in the UK and other countries around the world to embrace Community Sponsorship. As any sponsor will tell you, Community Sponsorship becomes part of you. And to quote many a sponsor, “it may be the most important thing we’ll ever do.”
It has been a real honour to have a small role in the implementation of the Community Sponsorship scheme by Chairing Reset’s Board of Trustees. During my time at Reset, we have seen the Community Sponsorship scheme grow substantially, reaching every region of the UK. We have helped to secure brighter futures for refugees by building the capacity of local communities to welcome refugees and helping government to secure the future of its resettlement schemes. From 2020, all refugees welcomed through Community Sponsorship will be counted in addition to those welcomed through the government’s schemes. As a result of Community Sponsorship, our country will welcome more refugees. There’s a lot for everyone who has worked on this project to feel proud of.
At the same time, we can clearly do more. Community Sponsorship can be bigger and better. Sometimes it still feels as though Community Sponsorship is a well-kept secret. We now need to blurt out that secret, loud and clear, to anyone who will listen. Having helped to establish it in the first place, being louder, and prouder, about Community Sponsorship is Reset’s next big opportunity.
I know the incoming Chair, Chris Clements, will work to make this happen. Chris and I worked closely together to establish Reset and I am certain that Reset will flourish further under his guidance.
It’s a very exciting time to take on the position of Chair of Reset’s Board. 3 years in, Community Sponsorship is at a critical stage in its journey. It’s gone from being an idea to a reality and more than 400 refugees have been resettled, but we’ve still only tapped the surface of the scheme’s potential.
To unlock this potential, it’s essential that we look back at the past 3 years to understand what has and hasn’t worked. As Chair of the Board, I’ll be ensuring that Reset’s strategy reflects this learning.
When we established Reset, the overall objectives were that more refugees would be resettled and that those resettled would have the best outcomes possible. Under Russ’ Chairmanship, Reset made strides towards these goals, supporting the Home Office to make the Community Sponsorship process more streamlined for all communities taking part, and developing a high quality training offer. Taking over the position of Chair, I’ll remain focused on these objectives as we build on our initial successes.
Russ has been a dedicated Chair and I know that he will remain supportive of Reset’s vision. At the heart of this is the belief that when you put communities in the lead, you create the right conditions for successful refugee integration. I’m excited to be leading Reset as we seek to develop this approach.