For centuries refugees have come to Britain seeking safety and a chance to rebuild their lives. In recent years, one of the most successful ways has been through community resettlement.
In 2015, in response to the Syrian refugee crisis David Cameron pledged that Britain would take in 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. One of the routes was through a scheme called ‘The Community Sponsorship Scheme’. In this scheme community groups take on the responsibility of welcoming, supporting and helping to resettle refugee families.
Since the launch of the scheme access has been extended beyond 2020 and has been widened to include other vulnerable refugees, principally from the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa).
As the Pickwell Foundation we have helped support and sponsor seven community sponsorship groups to welcome families to resettle in Georgeham, Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Chulmleigh, Appledore and Combe Martin. We are currently supporting other groups in Bishop’s Tawton and South Molton.
Community Sponsorship Ambassadors
We are starting new Community Sponsorship groups this Spring! We especially want to start groups in Torrington, Bideford and Lynton/Lynmouth.
We’re really hoping our volunteer community (especially those in existing community sponsorship teams) and friends of the Foundation can help us to form these new groups. Your personal experience about what it’s like to work alongside us in supporting displaced people will make you a powerful ambassador!
So, how can you help?
We have 3 favours to ask you:
1) Can you please share our Foundation talks and events from our Facebook page to your own networks?
2) Can you think about any organisations (clubs, churches etc) you, or your friends belong to. Would they like us to come and speak about Community Sponsorship? If so, please let our Community Sponsorship lead, Sara Wilson know via Sara@thepickwellfoundation.org.uk
3) Please could you email any of your friends who specifically live in one of the places listed above, to ask for their help? In case its helpful for your communication, we have made a little suggested message below:
Hi [insert name of person you know]
Did you know that I have been involved with The Pickwell Foundation in supporting a refugee family to come to [insert town or village name]?
It has been a [insert your own feelings here!] experience and now Pickwell are looking to welcome more families to Torrington, Bideford and Lynton/Lynmouth but need help to form a welcome group. Is this something you might be able to help with?
Here is some more info about the scheme:
“Having my Community Sponsorship group welcome me to the UK changed my life, and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done and continue to do for me” – Khadeja Alamary from Syria.
Community Sponsorship is a refugee resettlement programme with local people at its heart. It is a scheme where communities come together to welcome a family into their Town and Village and guide and support the family for a year after they have arrived.
Here is a film about The Pickwell Foundation’s work – https://www.thepickwellfoundation.org.uk/community-sponsorship/
If you would like to hear more about the work they do, you are warmly invited to one (or all) of our events! You can have an opportunity there to ask all the questions you might have. Our next event is 👇
- A Pickwell Foundation talk at Bideford: Saturday 15th April 2.30-4.30pm. Old Post Office Chambers, 1st floor 74a High St.
Thank you for reading
[Insert your name]
You can also read more about the Community Sponsorship Scheme from our South West Partner CHARIS and our friends at RESET. You can also download a Home Office Guide to community sponsorship here. ………………………………………………….
As well as operating in Devon as a principal sponsor, we are also involved nationally with the Community Sponsorship Scheme. Our co-founder Susannah is co-chair of the Community Sponsorship Alliance (UK). The Alliance is a leading voice for the Community Sponsorship and works with volunteer groups and the families they have welcomed, to shape, improve and grow the scheme. Do get in touch if you would like to know more. Susannah also works, alongside other chosen organisations in our sector, with the Department of Levelling Up (DLUHC) to shape and improve the Homes for Ukraine scheme.