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Refugees Welcome

Sponsor Refugees support communities to resettle refugee families to their local neighbourhood and support them to build a new life in the UK.

Our Asks

  • We are asking communities to welcome refugee families through the Community Sponsorship scheme. We can support you throughout the journey.
  • We are also asking Local Authorities to resettle refugees through the new UK Resettlement Scheme. We ask communities to encourage their council to do so, and to support their welcome.

Updates

  • Refugee resettlement were suspended in March 2020 due to Covid-19. We called on the UK Government to urgently resume resettlement, and in December 2020, flights finally resumed.
  • The Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme is due to end in 2021. We called on UK Government to commit to resettling at least 5,000 refugees a year. In January 2021, the government announced that they will continue to resettle refugees, through a new UK Resettlement Scheme. Newcomers will be welcomed by Local Authorities and Community Sponsorship groups. They have not committed to setting annual targets.

Key facts and figures

A brief history of the campaign

At the height of the Syrian refugee crisis in September 2015, following the public outrage at images of Alan Kurdi washed up on the shores of Turkey, Citizens UK called for the introduction of sponsorship of refugees. This was based on the Canadian model of community sponsorship.

Just weeks later, the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced that the Home Office would look at the idea.

Citizens UK then became one of the leading civil society partners helping the Government to design and produce the community sponsorship scheme. This was launched in July 2016.

Citizens UK Foundation for Community Sponsorship of Refugees (a.k.a. Sponsor Refugees) was established in October 2017 – and has been working to promote the scheme and to support pioneer groups to become sponsors ever since.

As one of the first community sponsors in the UK, I can confirm that the experience has been completely transformative for my community. It gave us the opportunity to do something hopeful when we weren’t sure how to help and it has brought together different elements in our community in extraordinary ways. Whatever we have given has been returned ten-fold by the most remarkable, inspirational and resilient family I have ever met. Major Nick Coke from Raynes Park Community Church in South West London

We came from Lebanon to the UK. The sponsor was waiting for us at the airport. They are very nice people and I can’t forget how they have helped me. I now work in a hospital. My job is a housekeeper. I love my job. I have many friends there. I love everything in Wales: the parks, the shops, the people. I would like to stay in the UK forever. Khaled, who is originally from Raqqa in Syria, an area that was once controlled by ISI

The Prime Minister believes community sponsorship presents communities with a great opportunity to help vulnerable refugees rebuild their lives I the UK, and the efforts of the NGO community and all parts of civil society to support the scheme are vital in ensuring its success. The Prime Minister at the time of the creation of Sponsor Refugees in 2017, Theresa May

How you can get involved

Bring a family to safety through Community Sponsorship . The Community Sponsorship scheme gives you the power to bring a refugee family from a camp or conflict zone directly to the UK, and walk beside them as they rebuild their lives. They come with their status assured and with a community in place to welcome them and help them integrate.

Contact us today to take the first step: communitysponsorship@citizensuk.org