In a time of social distancing due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) how can you keep your Community Sponsorship Group’s momentum going? Should this even be a priority when there seems to be so many other things to worry about? With an overwhelming news cycle and boredom, possibly loneliness setting in from being cooped up at home, keeping momentum within your Group will be important in keeping members engaged and passionate about your project. After all, isn’t this a great time for communities to continue to (virtually) come together to support one another to accomplish something you all care about?
We’ve put together this resource to give you ideas of how to encourage your Group to keep their momentum going even when you’re self-isolating. You can also add your own ideas of what is working for your Group to our Google Doc and we’ll add your suggestions to this page. For information about Community Sponsorship updates, check out our frequently updated resource on Covid-19 Guidance.
A note on self-care
The Covid-19 pandemic and the response of different governments around the world will be a source of anxiety for many people, including some of your Group members. Adding worry about your Community Sponsorship Group and the refugee crisis may be too much for some people so it’s important to give people their space and let them decide their level of involvement in your Group at this time.
It’s also important to check in with yourself and recognise when you need to take a step back from the project and practice self-care. Self-care means different things to different people and putting yourself first and taking a break if needed can be easier for some people than for others. Taking time to be kind to yourself when feeling overwhelmed is important and focusing on yourself, especially in a time like this, isn’t selfish, it is necessary. Our Considering the Impact of Trauma page has some guidance and ideas about self-care for Community Sponsorship Group members.
Should you continue to meet as a Group?
Most Community Sponsorship Groups rely on regularly scheduled meetings and fundraising events to plan their support and keep enthusiasm growing. In fact, we’ve heard so many Group members around the UK say that they got involved in Community Sponsorship so they could get to know their neighbours, fellow parishioners or members of the community with similar concerns about the global refugee crisis.
Right now, many places of worship, companies and communities are taking their interactions online. Think about if and how your Group can embrace technology to make virtual meetings work for you. The UK government has advised against gatherings and unnecessary travel and have told people over 70 years old, or those with pre-existing health conditions to self-isolate, so how can you keep lines of communication or even Group meetings in place?
Here are some ideas of how Groups can continue to hold meetings and keep in touch when your routine has been disrupted by Covid-19:
How has your Group been keeping in touch? Share your experience in our Google Doc!
Should you continue to write your application?
Yes! In light of current travel restrictions, we cannot say with certainty when refugees will be able to arrive in the UK again but we do know that flights will resume one day. On average, it takes about six months from Groups submitting their application to a family arriving in the UK, so we still encourage Groups to crack on with their applications and submit them to the Home Office when they’re ready so that when arrivals resume, the Home Office will be ready to take your application forward.
Do keep in mind that the Local Authorities for whom you need to have consent may be focused on other work at this time, and may not be able to respond as quickly as you might like.
You are strongly advised not to enter into a financially binding tenancy contract with a landlord until they are advised that it is safe to do so.
Other than securing housing, we encourage Groups to continue researching services and planning their support for a refugee family. We have many resources in our toolkit that can help you write the application and Reset will still run application workshops via webinar, phone or Skype with you and your Group! Get in touch if you want to book some time to discuss the application process, your application or forming your Group.
Be inspired by refugee-related media
As we become more familiar with our living room sofas, why not do some reading or watching that keeps you and your Group interested in refugee resettlement? Some Groups have suggested starting a book club with their members that meet online once a week although it’s important to be mindful of our guidance on self-care and avoid triggering Group members’ anxiety. Below are some of our suggestions to get you started while social distancing and let us know what you’re reading and watching! Add your own suggestions to our Google Doc.
What is the What – Dave Eggers
Exit West – Moshin Hamid
The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You – Dina Nayeri
The Boy at the Back of the Class – Onjali Q. Rauf
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (also a film!)
The Refugees (Short Story Collection) – Viet Thanh Nguyen
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit – Judith Kerr
Refugee Boy – Benjamin Zephaniah
Tears of the Desert – Halima Bashir
They Poured Fire on us from the Sky – Alephonsion Deng
- The Good Lie
- The Kite Runner
- The Breadwinner
- Home- Channel 4
- For Sama
- The White Helmets