10/02/2017 4:34 pm
The Community Sponsorship Scheme is a government-backed initiative that enables community groups - including the Catholic Church, its agencies and charities - to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees in the UK.
In order to apply, sponsoring organisations must have status as either a registered charity or community interest company.
They must also have the consent of the local authority in which they wish to operate and a comprehensive plan for resettlement in order to apply for the scheme.
As such, the advice for Catholics parishes and groups would be to contact their local diocesan coordinator or diocesan Caritas office.
A list of contacts can be found here:
Caritas Salford has been involved from the inception of the scheme and one of the first communities in the UK to sponsor a refugee family was the parish of St Monica's in Flixton, Manchester.
The parish website reports that the family - mum, dad and three children - have settled into their new home. The two boys are in school full time and the little girl is just starting part time nursery. Mum and dad are learning English at Trafford College and, most evenings, group members go to the house to help them practice their English. Neighbours are very friendly and the family have integrated well. Dad, for example, readily uses the local buses to go shopping.
Official website for the Caritas Social Action Network
Information on the government's full community sponsorship scheme