Private Sponsorship

The National Refugee Welcome Board has launched a new public register listing people, groups and institutions who have indicated their interest in becoming a private or community sponsor of refugees.

This follows the government’s announcement that it plans to introduce a refugee sponsorship scheme on the lines of the Canadian model. This would allow non-governmental institutions, community groups and groups of individuals to either apply to the government to bring in a refugee known to them from overseas or to indicate to the government their willingness to take on a referred refugee. In both cases, if successful, the sponsor would then fully support (materially, financially and in other ways) that refugee for 12 months.

250,000 vulnerable people have found protection under the Canadian scheme since it was established. While full details of British government’s plans have not yet been released the Board is encouraging ministers to set the scheme up quickly, ensuring that it creates an additional safe legal route for refugees to be protected in the UK.

Becoming a sponsor – the essentials

Set out below are three essential things which would have to apply before any one or any group could reasonably register their interest in being a refugee sponsor. These are on top of the obvious first requirement: that you or your institution really wants to sponsor a refugee; that you feel strongly about helping a refugee rebuild in a new life in the UK.

  • You have or could raise sufficient funds to provide all the financial and material needs of a refugee or refugee family for 12 months (we estimate that this would be between £10 & £12K for an individual, between £12-20K for a family, depending on size)
  • You are prepared to devote sufficient time to go through training and preparation to become a sponsor (at least a couple of days when the hours are added up)
  • You are prepared to provide considerable non-financial support to the sponsored refugee for the 12 months of the sponsorship period (and perhaps beyond). Things like welcoming, orientation, mentoring, befriending. Sponsorship involves more than a monetary commitment

Of course there will be all sorts of other things involved in becoming a sponsor once a scheme is set up, including background checks, assessment of finances etc. But in our view, if you think the three essentials listed above apply to you, and you are keen to signal early support for refugee sponsorship, then you can confidently sign our new register. It may be that you can provide some of the above, but not all. In that cases still sign up, we will try and link you up with others willing to contribute other pieces of the puzzle in due course.

More detail on what being a sponsor involves is set out in A Citizens’ guide to private sponsorship of refugees.

Sign the Register

The public register of interest in becoming a sponsor of refugees was officially launched at the second meeting of the National Refugee Welcome Board on 10th December 2015.

The following organisations and individuals were founding signatories of the register.

Amer Masri
Bishop of Barking and Diocese of Chelmsford
Lily Cole & Kwame Ferreira
Sir Bob Geldorf
Liberal Judaism
Masorti Judaism
Methodist Church of Great Britain
Methodist District Birmingham
Muslim Council of Britain
Razan Alakraa & Tim Finch
Reform Judaism
Yasmine Nahlawi & Amaf Yousef
Sonia Khoury & Zein Aji

You can sign the register below to indicate your interest in becoming  a sponsor.  Please see the following video for more information on private sponsorship.

What next?

The National Refugee Welcome Board will work with the government to continue in order to design and implement a sponsorship scheme. We hope the number of people and groups signing the public register of interest will grow, encouraged by the actions of the ‘founding signatories, and that this will demonstrate to the government that civil society is ready and willing to play a role when the official plans are unveiled.

Meanwhile the National Refugee Welcome Board and Citizens UK will put people and groups who have signed the register on a ‘pathway to sponsorship’ providing updates and information, and eventually delivering training (webinars and workshops etc) which will mean that once a scheme is launched by the government sponsors will be well informed and well prepared from the start.

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Are you interested as an Individual, Group or Organisation?