The situation with the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world is constantly changing, and we urge you to keep up to date with developments from the UK Government, public health bodies and NHS for the most up to date information:
Self-isolation or quarantine is going to have an impact on Community Sponsorship Groups no matter where you are in the process.
The details provided below are not official medical or legal information
Managing your Group
You will have a number of volunteers involved in your project – all of whom will be impacted by the pandemic. Consider:
- Moving your meetings to online or phone calls. Services such as Skype, Zoom and Facetime will be free to use.
- Check in regularly with your Group members and if they feel able to continue with the activities they do within your Group.
- Look to what you can reduce doing – you may have planned a launch or fundraising event, consider postponing this until further notice. If you go down this route, make sure you let people know. Reset can share your messages on social media – make sure you include the #CommunitySponsorship and/or tag Reset in your posts so that we can share this
- Find more ideas in our resource about keeping your Groups Community Sponsorship journey going
If you have welcomed a family
Make sure the family you support have received information on Coronavirus in their own language
- Doctors of the World have also published guidance in a range of languages.
- WHO have produced guidance in Arabic. You can also access the English versions.
- Big Leaf Foundation have updated advice and made this available as sound files on their website.
Help the family to understand the impact of Covid-19
- Explain to the family that your support will change during this time, and put in place measures for keeping in contact. We are looking for, and sharing ideas for home-based activities for families during this time
- Ensure that the family are aware of the restricted movements on all of those living in the UK at this time.
- Please note that the Spring Evaluation from the Home Office will not take place. All groups affected have been informed.
- Help the family you support find out if any member of the household meet the criteria for extremely vulnerable people and how to register as such. Find out on the government's website.
- Sponsor Refugees have put together a toolkit for Groups who have welcomed families
- Should one of the family members you support be admitted to hospital with Coronavirus, please do let your Home Office Contact Officer aware; this is not reportable as a Case of Interest, but is useful for the Home Office to be aware of
Review your safeguarding procedures
Read our dedicated Covid-19 and Safeguarding Resource
Key activities/areas to help the family you support to focus on
- GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals are going to be very busy, and some surgeries will stop the registration of new patients in person. Speak to the surgery about steps to follow to register new patients. Explain to the family that access to healthcare may be more restricted than usual.
- Ask ESOL colleges/classes if they are going to be continuing with classes – are these going to be happening online instead, and if so, do the adults in the family need equipment to access these?
- School closures have been announced to begin indefinitely on 23 March 2020. Check in with local schools about their processes and help any parents in the family navigate the current procedures. Remember that schools often communicate with parents via text message in English.
- You can also support the family by introducing the children to these educational resources available in English and Arabic.
- Check out our Covid-19 and ESOL resource for ideas for teachers and students
- Help the family to access groceries they need
- Make sure the family can access your support – this may need to be virtual rather than in person. Think about using Google Hangouts or other online resources to stay in contact with the family you have welcomed
- You can also share with the family this guide for coping strategies for anxious times, available in a variety of languages
All theory and practical tests have been put on hold for non-Key Workers for 3 months as of the end of March 2020. We have asked the DVSA for advice on the impact of those who are driving on international driving permits which are due to expire and will update as soon as we hear back from them.
For Groups in the Community Sponsorship Process (application submitted)
If you have approval-in-principle subject to housing
You are strongly urged to not sign any tenancy agreements where you are asked to accept a financial commitment, until further news is available on arrivals.
If you have a scheduled arrival
- Flights for refugees coming to the UK have been temporarily suspended. Read more on this on UNHCR's website.
- The Home Office will be directly in contact with Groups with scheduled arrivals. Please speak to your Home Office contact regarding any questions for arrivals.
If you have full approval and awaiting being allocated a family
- Please speak to your Home Office contact regarding the likely impact to schedules and costs being incurred.
If you have a pre-approval or monitoring visit scheduled with the Home Office
- These will be conducted via phone.
If you have not yet submitted your application and have property
- There will be further delays to when the family arrive, you are strongly urged to sublet property wherever possible, or speak to landlords about suspension of rent during this time. We are happy to help you develop your application so that it is ready to submit.
Reset Training and Support
- In line with government guidance, we will not be hosting or attending gatherings of people, and for the time being, we have postponed all in person training. We are still able to deliver application workshops and sessions by webinar or phone.
- Our small staff team are still working albeit from their homes, and will respond to emails, requests and phone calls as usual. You are able to leave messages on our office voicemail which we will pick up and return.
- Join our weekly virtual drop-in sessions on Zoom every Wednesday at 5:30pm. Find more information, a schedule and registration links on our website.
Please contact us if we can assist your Group.
This situation is changing constantly so please make sure you keep up to date with changes and announcements from the UK Government.