Published Friday 10 March 2017

Worthing 4 Refugees, the first local sponsorship group that Church Response For Refugees helped to establish, will become one of the UK’s first community groups to support a newly resettled Syrian refugee family under the Community Sponsorship scheme.

Worthing 4 Refugees is a group led by Christians from local churches of different denominations, united by a vision for the Worthing area to be a place of welcome, safety, integration and justice for refugees. It was launched in September 2016 and is supported by local faith groups, professional agencies, charities and voluntary organisations.

The group’s application was approved by the Home Office last week. Their first Syrian family is set to arrive in the coming months and will be greeted by volunteers from the Worthing community at the airport. They will then be supported by the group as the family seeks to rebuild their lives in the UK. Worthing 4 Refugees is hoping to take in more families in the future.

673231

Gay Jacklin, Lead for the group and Community Worker at Maybridge Community Church, said: “We are very pleased with the approval of our sponsorship application. This will enable us to respond more meaningfully and personally to the refugee crisis by welcoming refugees to our community.”

“We would appreciate your prayers for the Syrian family, that they may settle in quickly and feel welcomed in Worthing, and for us, that we may have Godly wisdom in all that we do for the family.”

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “We are delighted to see this competent and capable group be successful in its bid to host a Syrian refugee family in West Sussex. We supported the Home Office with their assessment and will continue working with Worthing 4 Refugees as they welcome the family to our wonderful county.

“We have already welcomed eight Syrian refugee families and are shortly expecting another two in West Sussex. I have had the honour of meeting several of them who speak very highly of the support they have been given by the community after they have overcome such devastating experiences. The community has really stepped up to the plate, including Worthing 4 Refugees, and for that we are very grateful.”

Church Response For Refugees supports churches and local groups coming together like Worthing 4 Refugees to apply and prepare for community sponsorship. Our Executive Director, Tania Bright, said: “Worthing 4 Refugees is the first group that Church Response For Refugees helped to establish. It is real joy and privilege to work with Gay and her team. This marks the start of an incredible journey for Worthing 4 Refugees and the Syrian refugees they will be welcoming. Now we look forward to equipping Worthing and other new community sponsors through hosting training workshops for them in these months to come.”

“We are providing assistance to 28 Christian community groups across the UK to become Community Sponsors. This scheme is based on the hugely successful Canadian Private Sponsorship model, which has resettled nearly 300,000 refugees in Canada since its launch 1979. Both Archbishop Welby and Cardinal Nichols are passionately calling on Christians to sponsor Syrian refugee families. I am confident that Community Sponsorship will become the defining channel through which churches can be salt and light to Syrian refugee families arriving in their local communities.”

Click here to read coverage about our news on Christian Today.