Refugee community sponsorship scheme
Over the past year there has been a strong expression of interest from around the Diocese in understanding how best to help refugee families coming to England. I am delighted to report that the government has recently launched a scheme that will enable a community to “sponsor” the welcome of a refugee family into their local community. The scheme has been welcomed by Archbishop Justin Welby, with Lambeth signed up to host a family in a cottage in the grounds of Lambeth Palace.
Churches, in partnership with their wider community, or in partnership with another church and community, are being encouraged to consider whether they can offer this support for a family. It is a significant commitment in both time and money (approximately £10k) which shouldn’t be underestimated, but is a real possibility for any group that sees this as a significant expression of their Christian discipleship. The aim is to enable a good welcome and stable start for families coming to England until the state is able to provide long term security. It is also important to put in place appropriate, qualified support for these families, which is why we are working locally with GARAS on this initiative.
A press release from the Archbishop’s office and the government briefing paper are available via this link.
As a first step we are looking to set up a briefing meeting with diocesan staff and GARAS. If you are interested and would like to come please let the Revd Cate Williams know by 16 September and we will seek to make this happen at a suitable time and location in the autumn.
In addition to this scheme, two other excellent initiates have been launched by Christian Aid and the Children’s Society to encourage us to think about how to be inclusive in our communities and how we can change the way the media portrays asylum seekers in our nation. Please click on the links below and see how you could get involved.
Change the Story
Christian Aid are encouraging us to ‘Change the Story’ that is being told about asylum seekers in our nation. If you have a positive story to tell, big or small, please make sure it is told through our local media. All you have to do is write a press release and send it in to your local paper. Such a simple thing to do, but it really does have potential for changing attitudes in our local communities. Click to find out more.
The Children’s Society is encouraging us to think about how to enable people to feel truly welcomed and at home within their new locality. All children need to be part of welcoming, inclusive communities so that they can flourish. As Christians, we have a responsibility to ensure that our communities are places where inclusivity is practised, respect is paramount and welcome extended without compromise.
For more information please read the attached document.