Jewish charity backs plan for faith groups to sponsor refugees

Jewish charity backs plan for faith groups to sponsor refugees

World Jewish Relief welcomed the “ground-breaking” government initiative to assist Syrians coming to the UK

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Syrian refugees
Syrian refugees

A leading Jewish charity has backed a government programme allowing faith groups to “sponsor” Syrian refugees coming to Britain.

World Jewish Relief welcomed the “ground-breaking” Home Office announcement this week, as the new Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it would “bring communities together to support these often traumatised and vulnerable families”.

Sponsors will provide housing for the refugee family, as well as helping them to integrate into life in the UK, access medical and social services, arranging English language tuition and supporting them towards employment and self-sufficiency.

Interest is expected to be high among Jewish communities, after an outpouring of sympathy in recent years, with many religious Jewish leaders seeing echoes of Jews’ own experience as refugees.

Sponsoring organisations, which can be registered charities or community interest companies, must show the consent of the relevant local authority and a comprehensive plan for resettlement in order to apply.

WJR has said it hopes to help at least 1,000 of the 20,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in the UK by 2020. Money from its refugee crisis already helps distribute aid to refugee camps in Greece and Turkey, and the organisation recently started work in Bradford helping the first refugees to find employment.

“We very much welcome the sponsorship proposals which will ensure vulnerable people fleeing conflict receive English language tuition to help them integrate and training to enable them to find employment and become self-sufficient,” said WJR chief executive Paul Anticoni.

Joining WJR in welcoming the Full Community Sponsorship scheme was Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who said it was “an enormous privilege to welcome a family to live in a cottage in the grounds of Lambeth Palace”.

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