Bishop of Durham asks Government about community sponsorship of refugees

On 25th April 2019 Baroness Sheehan asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the progress of the community sponsorship scheme in supporting resettled refugees in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I declare an interest as a trustee of Reset. Thanks to the work of Reset, the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative and others, community sponsorship is now being taken up more rapidly, as the Minister said, and explored in communities across the world. This growth underlines the importance of measuring and learning from the outcomes on sponsored refugees and the sponsoring community. What data does the Government collect? Will they make it public so that community sponsorship can keep growing in number and quality?

Baroness Barran: I thank the right reverend Prelate for his question and commend him on his work in this area. The Home Office has commissioned an independent evaluation that is being carried out by the University of Birmingham, which will be published this summer. I can give some early insight from that research, which talks about the,

“ability to count on emotional and practical support from a network of local people”,


“refugees with an excellent source of social capital that is critical to their integration”.

It is obviously crucial that we work in the most intelligent way with those refugees who have been selected for their vulnerability. If the House will indulge me, it would be poignant to listen to a quote from the young Syrian refugee Amineh Abou Kerech—forgive my pronunciation—who won the Betjeman prize for her poem “Lament for Syria”. In it she says:

“Can anyone teach me

how to make a homeland?”

Let us hope that all these schemes can do just that.


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