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 having 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 are impacted by the pandemic. Since March 2020, many Groups have adapted the way they function to fit with new guidelines. When thinking of how your Group can adapt to the ongoing situation, consider:
- If you still aren't able to meet in person, hold your meetings online. Services such as Skype, Zoom and Facetime are free to use. Depending on your area of the UK, you may now be able to meet in person, respecting social distancing guidelines.
- 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 – If you have postponed fundraising until it's safe to gather in large groups, you can move promoting and fundraising to online platforms. 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
- As the UK has started to open in up, depending on local guidelines, it's now safe to set up an information booth in your local farmers market or hold a socially distanced gathering to raise awareness and money for your project
- 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 regarding Covid-19 in their own language
- You can download a translated version of UK government's guidance for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19 infections and a message you get when ordering home tests on the right-hand side of this page. Both of these documents were translated by professional interpreters upon our request.
- 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.
- Migrant Health have also put together a list of useful resources for asylum seekers and refugees
Help the family to understand the impact of Covid-19
- Your support will have changed during this time. Although most parts of the UK allow for more freedom of movement and gatherings, as time goes on be sure to evaluate how you've adapted your support. Is it still working? Is there a more long-term plan you can enact that will make your support easier to deliver?
- Ensure that the family are aware of the restricted movements that might be in place in your specific region or town at this time.
- 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, dentists and hospitals have restrictions on attending appointments, 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.
- Many Groups have found that empowering the family to gain IT skills is more important than ever as ESOL classes are mainly accessed online at the moment. Make sure the family you support continue to have the tools and technology they need to continue with classes.
- Ask colleges and ESOL providers what their long-term plan for classes will be. Some colleges may allow students to attend classes in person in a socially distanced setting and others may decide to continue with online support.
- 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. Before lockdown, they may have been travelling far on public transport to buy specific cultural products and may not feel comfortable doing that currently.
- 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
As of August 2020 it is again possible to book driving licence tests in England and Wales. In Scotland tests restart on 14 September.
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 full approval and awaiting being allocated a family
- Flights for refugees coming to the UK have been temporarily suspended. Read more on this on UNHCR's website.
If you have a pre-approval visit scheduled with the Home Office or a post-arrival support visit with Reset
- These will be conducted via phone or Zoom.
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 twice monthly virtual drop-in sessions on Zoom on the first and third Wednesday of each month 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.