Social action update - Sherwood sponsors refugees

Refugees are being supported in the UK in a variety of ways. One way that is unfamiliar to most people is community sponsorship, in which a group from a local community gets together to sponsor a family who is matched to them and admitted directly from a refugee camp. The group supports the family until they are settled.

More information is available on www.sponsorrefugees.org. Sponsor Refugees is an arm of Citizens UK dedicated to supporting community sponsorship groups.

Here are a couple of links to videos that explain more:

A summary of what community sponsorship is:

Here is an ITV news report about a family who was resettled in Manchester:

video 2

Creating a group in Sherwood

An initial meeting took place on 31 May 2018 between Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich, from Nottingham Liberal Synagogue; the Reverend Paul Worsnop, at the time the Minister at Sherwood Methodist Church; Bilal Hussein, then an organiser for Nottingham Citizens, and Hannah Feldman, from Sponsor Refugees.  This started the process of developing a coalition of Sherwood based organisations and individuals, with a view to founding a community sponsorship group.

After several further meetings we now have the beginnings of a team, involving individuals from Nottingham Liberal Synagogue; St John’s Church, Carrington; St Martin’s Church, Sherwood; Sherwood Methodist Church, and Fiveways Mosque.  Although all these people so far are members of religious organisations, we have varying engagements with those organisations. We are keen to have a wider team of people from Sherwood who have a concern in common for social justice and helping those in need.

Next steps

A key role we have not filled is that of financial officer. We are required to raise £9000, and to prepare a budget and regular financial reports to the home office.  None of this should be very hard, and lots of guidance is available, but we need someone who knows their way around accounting software and budget planning.

We are also responsible for sourcing accommodation for the family, and are looking for a socially conscious landlord who either has a property in or near the Sherwood area, or is willing to purchase one. They also need to accept below market rent, as the family will be subject to the housing benefit cap.

We are also looking for a few more core team members, who can accept lead roles in the process and can commit time to regular meetings, especially during the set up period before the family arrives. We will also need people who will be able to volunteer their time for specific tasks e.g. decorating and furnishing the accommodation, and visiting and supporting the family on a regular basis once they are here.