Early in 2019 Wendover Resettlement Assistance Project “WRAP” was established by a group of local people, including members of each of the local churches, with the aim of hosting a family under the Community Sponsorship scheme in our community. We have partnered with a national charity called CitizensUK who helped the UK Government set up the scheme and who have partnered with over 20 community groups to date. Our primary motive is to help a vulnerable Syrian family who have lost their home to achieve independence and security, but we also hope the family will contribute to our community here.
So far about 300 people have been resettled by 60 local groups across the UK. Many more schemes are in progress. Community sponsorship is not a way of supporting refugees who arrive in Britain seeking asylum, or of relocating refugees stranded elsewhere in Europe, it is only for people who are stuck in camps in the Middle East, and who have been identified by the UK Government as suitable for resettlement.
We are currently (November 2019) going through the process of approval with the Home Office and, if successful, hope to welcome a family next year. Our local authorities are all supportive, as are our local churches.
A meeting was held on the evening of Thursday 14 November to explain what we are doing to any local people who are interested. There was standing room only for the first open meeting of the Wendover Resettlement Assistance Project on Thursday 14 November. The group is working to help a refugee family from the Syrian conflict to resettle in Wendover under the Government’s Community Sponsorship scheme. Wendover residents came forward with skills including English language teaching, Arabic speaking, trauma counselling and paint brush wielding! To read more go to https://wendovernews.co.uk/local-organisations/wendover-resettlement-assistance-project-wrap/. If you have any skills you could offer or would like to contribute in any way please contact email@example.com. In addition, there are lots of potential roles for volunteers, ranging from helping to prepare accommodation or providing furniture and household items, to helping with fundraising, and to identifying potential accommodation or employment opportunities.
Getting involved in the community sponsorship of a refugee family is a big responsibility, but there are huge rewards. Anna Roderick, who leads the Abide group that welcomed the Arnaouts to their home town, speaks for many sponsors when she says: “It has been a lot of hard work, and there have been ups and downs, but I can honestly say this is one of the most rewarding things I have done in my whole life.”
How are families chosen for the scheme?
The UK Government partners with UNHCR to identify the most vulnerable people for resettlement in the UK. They prioritise those who cannot be supported effectively in their region of origin: women and children at risk, people in severe need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence amongst others.
How do we know that the family are not a security threat?
The Home Office screen all individuals sent under this scheme.
Is this intended to be the first Syrian family of many under this scheme?
Our plan is just for a single family.
Where will the family live?
A local landlord has offered a property in Wendover for the family to live in for two years.
What happens after the two year period?
WRAP will provide support to the family to move on to the next stage of their lives.
Is this scheme being operated anywhere nearby?
A group welcomed a family in Chesham at the start of this year and there is a group in Haddenham who are preparing to receive a family before Christmas. We are liaising with these groups regularly.
Contact WRAP at firstname.lastname@example.org