There are currently over 155,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The UK Government has agreed to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 and local authorities, working together with the voluntary sector, are working hard to implement this programme. Up to November 2017, over 8,000 Syrian refugees had been resettled in the UK but the work of integration into the local community takes many months and even years.
The Refugee Resettlement Programme is a team of dedicated volunteers who help resettle and integrate Syrian refugees into the UK. The team works with local authorities through the Government’s ‘Community Sponsorship Scheme’ to offer support to (currently one)Syrian family, from the moment they arrived in the UK. A team of volunteers from the local area is assigned to resettle and integrate the family who have been accepted into the UK under the Government scheme. This includes preparing appropriate housing, providing welcome packs, translation and interpretation, English classes, support with applying for benefits and jobs, as well as finding places in local schools and registering them with a doctor and dentist. In addition, the family is familiarised with the local area and connected with local community groups. The initial commitment is for two years, with the emphasis on ensuring the family is as fully integrated into UK life as possible.
Since the Government announced the Community Sponsorship Scheme in July 2016, we have been working with the local authority of Newham and have successfully resettled a Syrian family of six since 2017 and our Hillsong Guildford campus welcomed a family early 2019. We are currently in the process of welcoming a family in Newcastle and Oxford and believing to see many more families resettled and supported across our locations.