Following interest from Rotary Clubs in West Wales around the above, enquiries have been made with a representative in Wales for the above programme.
• The Government has agreed for 20,000 Syrian families to come into the United Kingdom.
• There will be an additional 3,000 of unaccompanied children.
• Every local authority within the UK (except one) has agreed to take some of the families.
Each local authority will receive funding from the Home Office over a period of five years on a decreasing scale. The funding will come to an end at five years with the expectation that the family will have been fully integrated into the community and the eligible adults in full time work.
Many local communities, organisations etc. etc. had expressed concern for the plight of the Syrians and had expressed a wish to help. As a result of this, the Home Office has introduced the Community Sponsorship Programme.
Any organisation may apply to be the lead for the Community Sponsorship Programme but they need to show that they have sufficient funding and resources to undertake all that is required.
Under this Community Scheme they provide all of the services etc. provided under the Local Authority Scheme. Obviously this is in conjunction with and the agreement of the Local Authority as they will need to be sure that they can offer education, health and the other services that would be required.
However, the differences are:
Home Office Scheme:
• The families needs are covered for five years on a decreasing scale
• Housing is undertaken by the Local Authority
Community Sponsorship Scheme:
• The families needs are covered for two years
• Housing is found and paid for by the Community Lead Organisation
Considerations for the above:
a) Some Lead Community groups may be political or overly religious.
b) The two schemes are quite different in that if it is left with the Local Authority the family will be supported for five years with the Home Office picking up the tab. With the community scheme, the family are supported for only two years with the the community picking up a large chunk of the tab.
c) There is much less time for the Community Programme to prepare the family to be self sufficient than the Home Office Plan with a big responsibility on them to do so.
d) If the Community Programme Lead organisations are in need of additional funds in order to demonstrate that adequate resources are available, it is quite possible that any deposit/bond would not be repaid as these monies might be needed for the maintenance of the family over the two years.
e) Rotary is foremost a service organisation. It might be possible to set up help with literacy, after school clubs, coffee mornings, mens groups, career advice etc. (It is recommended that all such activities be open to all and not just the incoming families. This will help negate any feelings of the haves and the have nots and help with integration on both sides.)
The above programme relates to Syrian families. However, there are many others from elsewhere who are still fleeing conflict and possible death by coming illegally into the United Kingdom. They are then assigned to Resettlement Centres until their hearing when a decision will be made by the Home Office as to whether or not to offer UK citizenship.
The process up until the hearing can be very long. During that time the individual resides in the Resettlement Centre and is provided with basic accommodation and food. Some are moved out of the Resettlement Centre into nearby very basic accommodation, some returning to the centre for meals. They are given £5 a day subsistence.
If they receive permission to stay, they have 28 days to leave their accommodation and then they are on their own. They will be told to sign on for job seekers allowance of £35 per week.
Perhaps it is this group which is in greater need of help by Rotarians.
12th January 2017