What kind of families can benefit from Community Sponsorship in the UK?
The British government works with the UNHCR to identify the most vulnerable families for resettlement to the UK via Community Sponsorship. The UNHCR chooses families which:
- have fled the Syrian conflict OR who have children who have been deemed to be ‘at risk’ and have fled conflict in the Middle East or North Africa
- meet certain criteria: for example, women and children at risk; people in severe need of medical care; survivors of torture and violence
- are already registered with the UNHCR and hold formal refugee status.
Where are these families living now?
The Community Sposorship programme resettles families who have had to flee their home countries and are now living in camps or cities in neighbouring countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon or Turkey. These countries have been overwhelmed by the flood of refugees and this has affected how the refugees are able to live there. For example, many of them:
- live in difficult or even squalid conditions, perhaps in tents or cramped apartments
- are subject to racial harassment, including physical assaults
- find it difficult to access healthcare
- are not permitted to work
- struggle to be able to keep themselves fed, warm and clothed.
How does Community Sponsorship benefit the family?
- Since Community Sponsorship brings numbers which are over and above the UK government’s own resettlement programmes, these are families who would not otherwise have the chance of being resettled in the UK.
- Providing a safe route here means families don’t have to put themselves at the mercy of people-traffickers, and don’t have to make perilous journeys
- Community Sponsorship groups are local: the people know the area, they live alongside the family, they become their friends, and they can help them on a daily basis. The government’s resettlement scheme contracts with large organisations (housing associations or charities) which then look after all the families in a region, and can’t get to know each family as well, or see them as often.
- The Community Sponsorship group will provide all the early support the family needs, from housing to gaining access to healthcare to learning English to getting into volunteering or employment.
- The family is helped to become independent and self-sufficient as quickly as possible, which is to their benefit. The local Community Sponsorship commits to providing support for one year, so it is intense and loaded up-front.