Newsletter Autumn 2020

– Community Sponsorship
– Join the Team
– Covid Updates
– Taste of Freedom

A warm hello to all of our members! We hope you have all kept well over this tumultuous time, and we would like to thank you for your continued support for Bath Welcomes Refugees.

Life has been on pause, but our work has not. We are happy to launch our Newsletter which, on a quarterly basis, will keep you up to date with what we have been doing as well as telling you about our future projects.

We thought now was a great time to launch the newsletter, as we have some long-awaited and exciting news to share. We have recently been given approval from the Home Office to become an official Community Sponsor. We also have some updates from our various teams on how they have been busy during and since lockdown, as well as some tasty content to share.

Community Sponsorship
So, what is Community Sponsorship? Well, in 2016 the Home Office introduced a scheme which allows charity groups and organisations to take on the responsibility of resettling refugee families in the UK. The overall goal of this scheme is to ensure that the families are able to settle, find independence, feel at home, and be welcomed into their community.

BWR’s Community Sponsorship
The Community Sponsorship Scheme gives us the opportunity to respond practically to the ongoing global refugee crisis and provide a safe path for refugees to resettle in the UK. This has been a goal of BWR since the early days, and in May 2019 we began the lengthy application process to become a Community Sponsor.

The journey so far, and how you can help us

John, Overseer and Resettlement Volunteer. Linda, BWR Management Liaison. Bob, Project Leader. Sue, School Liaison, Resettlement Volunteer, and Language Support

We have a team of four (pictured above) at the moment who have put together the application, met with the local council and the Home Office and obtained approval to be a Community Sponsor. We have now also found a home for our first family, and once they have been identified by the Home Office we will begin to find schools for the children and arrange other practical things such as opening bank accounts, sorting out benefits, organising English language support, and identifying classes or social activities which may be of interest to the family.

The next steps in this process involve how you may be able to help us! We currently have 4 roles which need filling:

  • A fifth member of the core team; ideally good with IT and Admin.
  • A ‘go between’; someone with lots of availability and good DIY skills, someone to communicate with the landlord/landlady and the family to assist with any practical housing issues.
  • Two more Resettlement Volunteers; ideally of similar cultural and religious background and who are local to the Twerton area where the family will be located.

All volunteers working with refugees are required to have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check and to undergo safeguarding training before meeting with the family members.

If you are interested in any of these roles, then please email us at:

[email protected]

Or, if you would like some more information, then please email:
[email protected]

BWR is thrilled to finally be approved as a Community Sponsor and we look forward to welcoming our first family in the next few months, Covid-permitting!

Covid Updates from our Teams

Rose Cottage – Sara Barna

Sadly the monthly social gatherings for families at Rose Cottage were suspended in March and there is really no prospect of restarting in a safe and enjoyable way whilst social distancing is still needed. Fortunately most of the families are in contact with each other, both informally through social media and through online classes, and children have now returned to school. We very much miss seeing everyone and will restart sessions as soon as it is safe to do so.

Language Team – Alice Herve

The BWR Language Team has had to make a wide variety of adaptations whilst coming to terms with online teaching. Four times weekly English group classes were up and running on Zoom by the end of March 2020 and will continue for the foreseeable future. We even picked up extra students along the way who could not find another outlet in Bath offering ESOL at that time. Many of the 1-2-1 sessions also moved online during the initial stages of the pandemic.

Within Government guidelines we have now started to offer some face to face sessions again. But we look forward to being able to resume normal service again soon, as we miss seeing everyone!

Donations of Goods Team – Linda Walz and Lesley Bowes

Sadly, COVID restrictions mean there are no new families coming to Bath currently and, therefore, no houses to prepare. With limited storage facilities this means we are having to reject kind offers of furniture and household goods for the time being, which is very frustrating! We would like to thank everybody who continues to think of us. We are continuing to support existing families, in particular liaising with Lucy in the gardening team. If anybody has access to storage facilities, we would be delighted to hear from you!

Taste of Freedom
By Jenny Sowerby
Jenny Sowerby brings us Volume 2 of a cookbook packed with recipes from Syrian families living in Bath, who have been a part of the UN’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, and further afield. This follows on from the great success of Volume 1 which raised £10,000. 100% of the money from the sales of these inspiring books will go to Bath Welcomes Refugees and Doctors of the World UK. You can buy yourself a copy here.