The aim of these 8 steps is to prepare the ground for a successful campaign to get your Council to commit to joining the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (SVPRS) – the resettlement program for Syrian refugees. The key aim of your group is to build enough power so that the Council decides that it is better to work with, than oppose you. The steps are not necessarily sequential, but they outline the broad process needed to win a local campaign.
Stage 1: Arrange an introductory phone call: either with your local organiser or with Daniel Mackintosh Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org We will discuss some possible next steps for your group – is it a meeting? A training? An action?
Stage 2: Creating Team – A good team has diverse people on it with a range of skills who can reach out and involve others. How to build your team? Start with all of the people that you know. Ask them if they’ve also been moved by the current refugee crisis and would like to be part of a team working in your area. Then start to think through the different civil society groups in your area – faith groups, education organisations (schools, colleges, universities), NGOs. Do a google search and then try to map them into specific areas. With this initial group you can then reach out to other local networks.
Stage 3: Have an initial meeting – bring all of these people together for a meeting to get to know one another and decide on a course of action. Short, sharp meetings where everyone has a good set of next steps are the key to making sure that your team remains active, interested and energised.
Let us know when you organise a meeting, or event or training and we can also email people in your local area to encourage them to attend – Daniel.email@example.com
Proposed Agenda for the meeting (1 hour)
Introduction: welcome everyone, introduce yourself and explain that the key purpose of this group is to build a campaign to resettle refugees in your area.
Why does the issue of Syrian refugees move you to take action? (1 minute each – try and keep to time because people can waffle on!)
A short briefing on the Syrian refugee crisis (you will be able to pull the most up to date information from the internet – see the UNHCR website) and an introduction to community organising and Citizens UK: Here is a short video of how community organising works - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddBjb-xRPOk Community organising is also an effective vehicle for resettlement – Citizens UK has now helped to ensure that 25 Councils around the country have signed up to resettlement.
8 million Syrians displaced, 4.2 million Syrian refugees, 1.6 million are children and many need to be resettled, 320 000 need to be resettled. But, the UK government (by 30 September 2015) had only resettled 216 refugees – one of the lowest figures in Europe. See one example of Nora, a Syrian refugee that Citizens UK has been working with, who arrived recently - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZIYm55h-lM
Actions that you and your group can take. It would be good to divide into sub-teams of who wants to do what. These actions are crucial because they provide the groundwork needed to get the Council to sign up to resettlement in your area:
- Motion to the Council - Getting specific commitments from Councils to resettle 50 people locally - See here for a template council motion
- Landlords - Approach all of the local landlords and letting agents in your area and encourage them to resettle a refugee in their properties. Signing up landlords and challenging your local letting agents (see the links for the www.refugees-welcome.org website).
- Scholarships - Persuade your local stakeholders to back resettlement in your area. One possible target are universities who can make bursaries available for asylum seekers and resettled refugees. For instance, the University of East London has just created 10 spaces worth over £120 000 to help young people rebuild their lives.
Finalise who has committed to doing what in each of the sub-teams and set the date of the next meeting. The next meeting should not be more than 2-3 weeks away. The Syrian refugee situation is a crisis and needs an urgent response.
In addition, ask everyone to bring at least 1 new person to the group for next time.
Stage 4: Register as the local co-ordinator on the http://www.refugees-welcome.org.uk/campaigning-for-change/ as local co-ordinator and join our weekly phone calls with other co-ordinators around the country at 18:30 every Monday.
Stage 5: Organise a training – contact Bekele - Bekele.Woyecha@citizensuk.org - to arrange training in your area. Wherever a local group can bring together 15 or more people we’re happy to run a 2 hour training for you tailored to the local campaign’s needs, whether it be winning over you council, local landlords, developing a community welcome plan or contributing to the national campaign.
Stage 6: Take an action on your local council: Once you have laid the groundwork for resettlement, primarily in finding housing, now it is time to take an action. In the build up to winter in the refugee camps, we are urging teams from around the country to have an action outside their local council.
People have been collecting winter clothes, lighting candles and laying wreaths for the 6 children who froze to death in the camps last year and calling on your Council to resettle at least 50 refugees. You can offer to help by teaching English, befriending refugees, welcoming them into the area by hosting a local festive meal, helping them to find their way around town or into employment.
Stage 7: Celebrate and get plotting! Take the time to enjoy your victory as a team. Do something fun – share a meal, have a picnic or go to the pub. What might be your next step? What do you feel is most important in the crisis?
Stage 8: Plan for the refugees’ arrival: Now that you have got your council to commit to resettlement, you have got over the first hurdle. But now there is the challenge of actually making sure that they arrive and are effectively resettled. This may need you to create a local Refugee Welcome Board to assist the Council in the local resettlement effort. Seek support from Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org on how to set up a local refugee welcome board.