The Uplyme Community Sponsorship (UCS) scheme was set up last year and already has a supporters group of over 50 volunteers. Its aim is to resettle a refugee family from Syria under the Home Office Resettlement programme in the Lyme Regis/Uplyme area.
Why is there a need for this scheme?
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) after eight years of war in Syria, almost half a million people have been killed and over 5.6 million people have fled their country. Millions more are displaced within Syria and are dependent on humanitarian assistance. The Home Office has pledged to resettle a total of 20,000 refugees from Syria, within the UK, by 2020.
Devon County Council has pledged to resettle over 40 families and Dorset County Council to take 30 families as part of the resettlement programme. Local schools, churches and community groups are getting involved and groups of volunteers are researching the health, education, housing, benefits, language, religious and cultural provision in both Devon and Dorset to construct a resettlement plan which will be considered by local authority and then the Home Office.
What needs to happen for the resettlement to take place?
Before applying to resettle a refugee family the community sponsorship group must fulfil several criteria, crucially finding suitable accommodation to rent (non-social housing) and raising a minimum amount of £9,000 (for a two-parent family). The local authorities then approve the application before it is submitted to the Home Office.