Refugee Response Update #6 - Community Sponsorship Programme

20 May 2016

Since September last year we have been actively been involved in reaching out to the refugees that are within our local reach. We have a few exciting updates from the Refugee Response and how we continue to stay involved in supporting those who have escaped war and horror in their home countries.

Community Sponsorship Programme
We want to help refugees coming in to the UK feel welcome and help them set up for life in our city and nation. As a church we are signing up for the Community Sponsorship Programme with the Home Office, which means that we have the opportunity to support Syrian refugee families with their resettlement in the UK for the first two years they are here.

The Community Sponsorship Programme will help families from Syria find a place to live, support them with settling into the UK and their community, help them with English classes and digital skills and provide a warm welcome and connection with people in their new country.

One of the main requirements for this programme is facilitating adequate living space for these families. If you are a property owner or landlord and have living areas available for the next two years that you would like to offer against Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates please get in touch via our email refugeeresponse@hillsong.co.uk. To check the LHA rates for your area go to gov.uk.

The requirements for accommodation are:

  • Each bedroom should allow a minimum of 70 sq ft ( 6.50 sq m) per person.
  • The accommodation must be available for a period of two years.A separate bedroom must be allocated to each
    • married or cohabiting couple
    • adult aged 21 years or more
    • pair of adolescents aged 10-20 years of the same sex
    • pair of children aged under 10 years regardless of sex
    • The property must be in a proper state of structural repair, must be maintained throughout in a good state of repair with safe electricity and/or gas supplies, and with adequate ventilation and lighting.
  • The property should be appropriately furnished with
    – an appropriate number and type of beds;
    – a toilet, a washbasin and a fixed bath or shower with hot and cold water;
    – a fixed heating appliance in each room, which is capable of providing effective heating and which the tenant can control;
    – facilities for cooking and for the hygienic preparation and storage of food (for example, a 4-ring hob with oven and grill, – – – fridge-freezer, microwave oven, and kitchen sink);
    – access to a washing facilities (e.g. a washing machine or nearby laundrette);
    – access to facilities to dry clothes (e.g. outdoor clothes line or indoor clothes-drying rack); and
    – a fire blanket and smoke alarms

To find out more about this or register your interest email us at refugeeresponse@hillsong.co.uk.

Other updates from Refugee Response:

Colour Local Impact
During Colour Conference two weeks ago we collected over 6,000 items such as clothing, toiletries and towels that will be made into welcome packs for Refugee Council who work with unaccompanied minors who come to the UK. Part of the donations will also go to the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk and other refugee organisations in London.

If you haven’t been able to contribute and still would like to you can still donate online here.

Calais
Although the camp in Calais has been reduced significantly in the first few months of the year, there are still about 2,500 to 3,000 people living in huts and tents on the French coast. Our Greenlight team has been going over twice a month since September and will continue to do so to keep doing waste management plus maintaining and cleaning our two sanitation units that are still being used by hundreds of refugees each day.

To find out more or volunteer for the Greenlight Refugee Response team sign up here.

English Classes
To help those within our communities help integrate better we are starting English Classes and are working towards a team of skilled people that can help teach and host these classes. If you have a skill that could help with this team please get in touch via greenlight@hillsong.co.uk

Translators
For our work in the refugee camps in Calais we are looking for people who are fluent in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Amharic and French. If you speak any of these languages and would like to get involved please let us know via the form on greenlight.london/join.