Tracy has worked in the non-profit sector for a number of years and lately for a charity working on tertiary education projects in sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked for a global news agency, managing journalism and media development programmes in low and middle income countries (LMICs). countries (LMICs)
I had been looking to volunteer for some time, and whilst I have worked in the non-profit sector for a number of years, I still wanted to do something to support another organisation.
A friend asked if I would be interested in joining a Community Sponsorship group, working to support the resettlement of a refugee family to the UK. At this point the group was just being formed, so I went along to the first meeting and afterwards decided this type of group was something that I felt is needed and would interest me. I wasn’t aware of the UK Government’s Community Sponsorship scheme, but once it was explained to me, I decided to give it a go.
That was in July 2019, now the group is established with just over 30 volunteers and our application to the Home Office has been approved in principle. We have now raised over £10,000 and in a short space of time, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated and supported our work, without this support we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Our next challenge is to find suitable accommodation for when our family arrives. This is proving to be a little more challenging than we had anticipated, and especially so due to the current restrictions, but I’m sure we will be successful.
Community Sponsorship is a great way of bringing individuals together within the community to work as a team and make change. All our volunteers are from such different backgrounds and we are a diverse and inclusive team. It’s been great getting to know everyone, and their enthusiasm and dedication is amazing, especially as their current work commitments are challenging.
My background is in journalism and media development in emerging countries and also tertiary education projects in sub-Saharan Africa, so I’ve not really been directly involved working with refugees before. I’ve learned a lot about how difficult a refugee’s journey is to safety and how coming together as a group and working as a team can make such a difference to another person’s life.
I really enjoy being part of a Community Sponsorship group and if anyone is thinking of joining or setting a group up, I’d say go for it.