UK Welcomes Refugees and people forced to leave their homes because of conflict and persecution. Our work supports refugees and the communities that receive them by promoting partnerships with civil society organisations, national institutions, community and faith-based sponsors.
Welcoming and supporting migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to become part of a host community is a wonderful experience but not without its challenges. It can shake up our daily lives. We have to find a solution for all kinds of questions. However, we also learn a lot about ourselves and our community. We learn to work together, appreciate each other and become open to the gifts of strangers in our midst.
UKWR supports Community Sponsorship initiative to build up, strengthen and broaden the resettlement opportunities for refugees by advocating for the expansion of the current refugee resettlement programmes. We advocate on behalf of civil society and faith-based organisation members for more and better resettlement opportunities and complementary admission pathways for refugees, including family reunification and more effective migration policies that allow local communities and volunteers to actively engage in receiving refugees. UKWR advocates for complementary admission pathways for refugees to be an addition to existing government resettlement programs.
Any human encounter with a brother of sister in need of acceptance and understanding sensitises us to be open to others and understand that we are all on the same journey. The commitment of so many people to help our neighbour and to see a human person in need of assistance is in itself a recognition that we are all one human family. Community sponsorship gives us the opportunity to help our neighbour in need and to make a difference, no matter how small, and in doing so we are also expressing our solidarity with others.
Though the reception and integration of refugees is in many cases the responsibility of local authorities, UKWR and its civil society partners, is speaking out for charities to have more direct access to government funding. As demonstrated by the members of the Principal Sponsors Alliance, civil society organizations are making successful integration a reality on the ground and will only be able to grow the scheme if funding for their work is secured. A new Fund must ensure meaningful collaboration and partnerships with civil society organizations and guarantee effective coordination and resourcing for integration to be successful.
In encountering and welcoming refugees, we experience that there is no limit to the difference we can make when we work together at a local, national and international level. It also brings energy and confidence to us when we can count on the cooperation and leadership of civil society organisations who, with their special knowledge and dedication, are also at the service of people who look to our country for sanctuary.
In UK Welcomes Refugees, I believe we have an organisation that is dedicated to nurturing the human qualities we need to work together, support and promote the resettlement of refugees as well as the energy and commitment to bring about the changes in policy and practice needed to make the UK a place of sanctuary for those who need the safety of our shores.