We are forming a group of volunteers in Birmingham to settle a family from the Middle East who need a new start and give them the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
We need more people to help so if you live in the area, join us! It will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.
In 2016, the UK Government set up the Community Sponsorship Scheme to enable community groups to play a leading role in resettling refugees.
The family will come from the area surrounding Syria and the UN Refugee Agency will have been identified it as one that would benefit from resettlement. They will have fled conflict and be in desperate need of a future.
Our job will be to take on many of the responsibilities of resettling them such as finding their accommodation, getting them enrolled at schools and doctors, applying for benefits and helping them get work. We will also be introducing them to the community and making friends.
Under the scheme, the family is immediately entitled to the same rights and benefits as a UK citizen on arrival but the whole objective is to help them build independent lives so that the family can fulfil their potential.
The UK government has committed to resettle 5,000 refugees from the area in 2020-21. In our view, they should be settling about 100 times that number but the benefit of the Community Sponsorship Scheme is that every family is in addition to that target.
Having worked so closely with refugees over the last 5 years, we know what an enormous difference this can make to their life chances. And as a volunteer organisation, we know how rewarding it is to spend time with other volunteers doing this kind of work.
But we are also going to be a Lead Sponsor in this scheme because the UK needs to do more and this is a concrete way to show that when we open our communities to refugees and they become part of the fabric of society, everyone benefits.
Becoming a sponsor is a big responsibility, and you will need to commit to being part of the support group for at least one year. But you will get out of it far more than you put in and you will be making a difference.