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Neil Jameson CBE

An exceptional man who touched and changed the lives of so many, whose ambition and energy never faltered in supporting his passion for the fundamental aspects of human virtue – to be united with compassion towards each other.


The trustees, staff and volunteers at UK Welcomes Refugees offer our heartfelt sympathy to Neil’s family at this sad time.


Neil was the founder and former Executive Director of Citizens UK and he played a crucial role in developing the organisation from its birth in 1988 into a formidable civil society network of communities and organisations throughout the country that campaigned for social justice at local and national levels. In 1994, Neil was invited to East London to help to establish The East London Citizens Organisation (TELCO). Neil went on to help establish and sustain organisations such as the Living Wage Foundation (2001). Neil became a CBE in 2016 for ‘Services to Community Organising and Social Justice’ in in recognition for his pioneering contribution to public life. In 2018, he was awarded the Albert Medal for outstanding service to civil society by Royal Society of Arts.


Neil stepped down from Citizens in 2017 to take up a new role in advocating for asylum seekers and refugees fleeing conflicts.  He helped the work of Safe Passage in opening up protected routes for the sanctuary of unaccompanied minors following the Syrian crisis. Following his role in assisting Citizen’s establish their Sponsor Refugees initiative he went on to found UK Welcomes Refugees in 2021 to promote the resettlement of refugees by helping to grow the Community Sponsorship scheme that recognised the role of civil society in welcoming and resettling refugees.


Neil has been at the heart of the Community Sponsorship movement in the UK and globally since it started in the UK in 2016.  He said, “Community Sponsorship has changed my life personally and publicly. This exciting development will give more and more citizens and their communities the privilege and mutual benefit of welcoming refugee families who are fleeing war, poverty and the climate crises a settled and welcoming home and future.”


Mark Wiggin, Chair of Trustees at UK Welcomes Refugees said, “Neil’s death on Monday 24th April came as a great shock to his family, friends and to all of us here at UK Welcomes Refugees. His mission in life was to serve others and help as many people as he could through a wonderful sense of service and by using his incredible knowledge and experience as a campaigner and advocate for better society and for a better world.  His generosity of spirit and friendship touched the lives of us all. Neil will live on in our hearts. Besides all his qualities of leadership, Neil was fundamentally a very kind, positive, cheerful and empathetic human being. His work and legacy will continue on through so many of us touched by his humanity”.



UK Welcomes Refugees came into existence after months of listening and a series of discussions about community sponsorship and resettlement of refugees. We seek to promote, protect, and build a powerful Community Sponsorship and support Movement in the United Kingdom, working closely with partners, associates, and allies.


UK Welcomes Refugees mission is to campaign for a real and transparent Safe and Legal Route for refugees to take when seeking sanctuary in the United Kingdom. This is done by  actively supporting Community Sponsorship of Refugees so that UK communities can play an active role  in the welcome and resettlement of refugees.


We believe that it is vital to have a strong collective voice that can bring community sponsors, sponsored families, lead sponsors and the wider community sponsorship and wider resettlement family together to lead the community sponsorship movement, and build successful Community Sponsorship, Resettlement and Support schemes in the United Kingdom and across the globe.

london group photo

Community Sponsorship can transform the lives of a refugee family and the lives of the community that welcomes them. It can even change our view of the world and give expression to our passion for a kinder and more just world.” – Mark Wiggin, Chair UK Welcomes Refugees (Former CEO Caritas Diocese of Salford and community sponsor)


Latest News

Pathways International – The Future for Global Resettlement

  In order for community sponsorship to expand into new countries, as well as broaden its reach within countries that have already adopted this ‘gold standard’ approach,  new ways of supporting the movement are called for.   Pathways International is a new global partnership, supported by UK Welcomes Refugees, that is dedicated to growing community […]

The Global Gathering for Sponsorship 2023 (November 7 – 9)

  Over 130 delegates gathered for the event hosted by the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative and Amnesty International in Lisbon, Portugal. The opening session explored key developments in sponsorship and community welcome over the past year and how narratives have shifted over the period and how community welcome initiatives have evolved as the initial ‘crisis [...]

Why Community Sponsorship Must Flourish

  Community Sponsorship offers refugees the opportunity to transition from a place where they cannot flourish to a place where they can flourish and grow. The transition from a war-torn region to safety is filled with challenges and risks ranging from exploitation by traffickers to imprisonment and even death. Community Sponsorship offers an alternative, a [...]

The Global Gathering for Sponsorship 2023: November 7 – 9, 2023, Lisbon, Portugal

      UK Welcomes Refugees will join an international gathering of refugee agencies and resettlement organisations in Lisbon organised by the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI) and Amnesty International.   The Gathering will explore key developments in sponsorship and community welcome over the past year. As a growing resettlement strategy that is being adopted [...]

Afternoon Tea in the House of Commons

  On the 5 th September 2023, the Community Sponsorship Alliance UK met for ‘Afternoon Tea’ in the House of Commons Jubilee Room at the invitation of Helen Hayes MP. The gathering was an important opportunity to call for “safe routes to safe homes in safe communities for people seeking sanctuary” in other words for […]

Reset: The future of community-led welcome: the case for a single UK refugee sponsorship scheme

The Reset discussion paper brings to light some important conversations surrounding the use of community sponsorships. The main benefits of this scheme is that it is sustainable, scalable and benefits both the refugees and the communities.   What is a community sponsorship scheme? It is when local communities groups such as, civil society organisations, charities [...]

2 year anniversary of Hong Kong BNO

Press release: 30th January 2023   Hong Kongers and welcomers gather to mark second anniversary of British National (Overseas) visa scheme and celebrate lunar new year.   Recently-arrived Hong Kongers and those helping them to settle and integrate in the UK gathered on Monday 30 January at an evening reception held by the Welcoming Committee […]

New Hong Kong arrivals inject fresh enthusiasm and vigour into UK Civic Life and Politics – Research Findings

The recent study on civic engagement and social integration of Hong Kongers in the UK conducted jointly by UK Welcome Refugees and the Good Neighbour Church, England have inspired some insights on this issue. The study collected data from 586 Hong Kongers who came to the UK through the BN(O) visa scheme which was first [...]

Investing In The Future Of Community Sponsorship

The Community Sponsorship Scheme enables community groups to directly welcome and support a resettled family into their local community. The Scheme was established in response to the desire of civil society to support refugees and is an example of effective government and civil society collaboration. Refugees resettled through the Community Sponsorship scheme complements those resettled [...]

About the work of UK Welcomes Refugees

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 [...]

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Building Community Sponsorship Together