Helping house refugees through Community Sponsorship

November 2021 Update – Homes Without Borders

We are very conscious that it’s been a while since our last update. Covid has taken its toll and affected all
walks of life, including the ‘Homes without Borders’ project. For those who may not have heard about
this project, or maybe forgotten about it, its goal is to resettle a refugee family in Basingstoke, probably
from Syria.
We have had changes of personnel within the Steering Group including some key roles whereby
replacements had to be found in order for us to move forward. The successful Application that we had
previously made to the Home Office has been timed out so we are now, unfortunately, having to repeat
that process. The Home Office will assess the evidence we supply in our application and make checks on
the personnel in our group on the police national computer, checks to see if we are fit and proper to
assume the responsibility of resettling a vulnerable family etc.
Even though you haven’t heard from us, please be assured that work has been going on behind the
scenes via Zoom and we are still very passionate about resettling a family in the Basingstoke area. We’re
pleased to say that our Steering Group recently had our first ‘face to face’ meeting for a couple of years
and it was a very fruitful get together.
Just out of interest, do you have or know of anyone who might be interested in letting a property in the
Basingstoke area, ideally with three bedrooms, on a minimum of a two-year lease? As the rent has to be
affordable, we’re looking in the region of £900 per calendar month. If you can help, please contact Bill
Reilly on 0118 981 3784 or email
If any of you reading this would like to volunteer as a ‘befriender’ to the family once they have arrived
(e.g. showing them around local shops, parks, bus routes etc) then please contact Tony King on 07522
975 390
or email

November Update

Recently, the Home Office have advised that inbound flights, bringing refugees to the UK, are to resume in early 2021. This is very welcome news, as the preparatory work of Community Sponsor groups such as ours, have been on hold due to Covid:19 which has prevented refugees being allowed to enter the UK. The decision by the Government, under the existing resettlement scheme, will allow 232 refugees to enter the UK although it is only those groups who have secured a property, who will be welcoming these refugees. Groups, such as ours, who have not secured a property yet, still do not have a date for when they will welcome a family to resettle.

Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we can start the search in earnest for a property that will help transform the lives of a suffering refugee family beyond their imagination.

Please continue to pray for the success our project.

Last Update

Thank you all very much. YOU have so generously pledged £28,000 to the refugee resettlement project, which is way in excess of what we had hoped for; enough to help support a further two displaced families in the future to resettle in our area. We are still looking for somewhere for the first family to live, so if you are a landlord and want to receive a guaranteed rental for 24 months, do please contact Pat at Many thanks for your very generous support.

Also special thanks to the parishioners who either spoke, helped to give out or collect the pledge forms.

Last Meeting

There will be a tea party in aid of our Parish’s Community Sponsorship resettlement scheme at St Joseph’s Church RG22 6TY between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday 8th Feb. It would be great if you could find time to pop along and support the party. Also, contributions of cake, home made or purchased, and donations of prizes for tombola or raffle would be appreciated.

Get Involved!

“…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” Matthew. 25:35

In 2015 we were all shocked by the plight of the Syrian refugees fleeing their country due to war and persecution. Ordinary people like you and me suddenly found themselves, not just without a home, but also without a country to live in. Looking for safety, where their families could work, be educated and live a life with hope, they took perilous journeys over land and sea. Many are now living in camps, makeshift homes and tents. No home, no life and no country. This is where you can help by joining together with people in your parish. You can make a decision to know more about Community Sponsorship and find out how as a team of volunteers what you can do to help others .

What can you do to support your parish?

As well as finding housing, making a cake for a family would be amazing or you could do others things such as taking a family to the hospital, dentist or doctors . Maybe help with fundraising to pay for clothes, transport and other livings costs when a family first arrives in the UK, or help with form filling or even show a family where to shop or teach them some English. A little help goes along way, to help a family enjoy their new life in the UK.

What is Community Sponsorship?

How does the scheme work?
The two-year programme comprises three main elements :
Housing – Find and prepare a suitable, affordable family home
Funding – Raise a support fund to cover additional needs
Support – Plan and deliver a programme of resettlement support

After security screening, medical checks and initial preparation about life in the UK, sponsored families arrive with full refugee status and the right to work, school places, free healthcare, English tuition (ESOL) and State benefits. The scheme is inspired by a Canadian model which has successfully resettled around 300,000 refugees since it began in 1978.

How is it effective?
• Frequent and intensive support by a committed group of volunteers
• Families benefit from the rich social capital of a whole community
• Strong bonds of friendship, mutual understanding and empathy
• Shared motivation and commitment to successful resettlement

” The community sponsorship scheme personalises a huge, human drama, by enabling local communities to welcome and support refugees in a real and tangible way. This scheme opens a path for people to respond with compassion, providing welcome and integration, and should be taken up as widely as possible.” Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Get in touch

The Diocese is committed to Community Sponsorship.

Further information is available from the Parish Office on 01256 577007 |

Briefing seminar in St Bede’s Hall at 7.00pm on Wednesday 5th June.

If you would like to get involved and were not at the meeting, please email your contact details to to be added to our database of contacts. There is an update meeting being arranged for early September.

Tell a friend

The success of Community Sponsorship depends on the inclusion of lots of different people so do step outside of your parish and tell everyone about this project – there will be many people who will be thinking ‘what can I do?’ so please let them know.

A message from Bishop Philip

“One of the greatest tragedies of our times is the refugee crisis . Pope Francis has often addressed this complex but distressing matter, ever calling us to see beyond the politics and the stereotypes to suffering human beings in desperate need . He has asked us to open our homes, our communities, and our churches in order to accommodate refugees, and so I want to encourage community groups within our Diocese to consider sponsoring a refugee family in their parish . Let everyone see that our Diocese of Portsmouth has opened its doors in Christian love to people from some of the most troubled places on earth, in particular from Syria . Through these actions, we will witness to the love of Jesus working through His Church and to our profound respect for every human person”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *