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New Community Refugee Sponsorship organisation launched to help resettle Syrian families in Kingston

KCRS Mayor Thailand refugee community launch

The Kingston Community Refugee Sponsorship (KCRS) organisation, which aims to resettle refugees with support from local groups, was officially launched at All Saints Church last week.

The initiative enables community groups to support the resettlement of refugees directly in the local area, working together with the council, voluntary sector, local businesses and faith groups. This includes welcoming the family when they arrive, providing support to settle in during the first twelve months of their time in the UK, as well as finding accommodation for the first year.

Kingston’s new Mayor Councillor Thay Thayalan, who attended the launch, said:

“I would like to congratulate all the churches and faith groups for coming together to launch this excellent Kingston Community Refugee Sponsorship initiative. The Deputy Mayor and I wish them success for this important venture and are happy to support the work of the community in raising much needed funds for this very worthy cause.”

The Community Sponsorship Scheme is on the back of a successful public event run by the council last year. Former Minister of Immigration Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP along with guests from Canada, where Community Sponsorship of refugees has been happening for over 30 years, attended the event. More than 100 community members, who were interested to see what they could do to help with resettlement of refugees, also came along.

Vince Daly, Chair of Kingston Community Refugee Sponsorship, said:

“We were very pleased that Kingston's Mayor and his Deputy, along with other Kingston councillors, were at the launch event for this scheme. This continues the borough's support for the resettlement of vulnerable refugee families.”

The Community Sponsorship scheme is different to the current Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) as community groups themselves come up with the funding, accommodation, integration plan and support for the refugee family. To find out more about the Community Sponsorship Scheme visit the government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/community-sponsorship-scheme-launched-for-refugees-in-the-uk

Kingston, along with other local authorities in the country, is working with partner organisations to bring Syrian refugees, directly from the Middle East, to be housed and relocated in our borough. The borough is expecting two more families in June under VPRS. This will bring the total of individuals resettled by the council in the borough since it started in 2016 to 33.To learn more about the scheme visit: https://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200183/housing_homeowners_and_renting/1211/housing_syrian_refugees

Notes to editors

The UK government is taking part in the UN’s programme to resettle refugees who have fled from their home countries, including those affected by conflict or civil war. The Prime Minister announced on 7 September 2015 that the UK would accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5 years.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees identifies Syrian refugees to be put forward for the relocation scheme. They are screened for security and assessed to meet the criteria which include being victims of torture or violence, women and girls at risk, and having physical or medical needs.