UPDATE 14th March 2022
The UK Government has now announced some more details of their Homes for Ukraine hosting scheme and you can register your interest on their website here. We are still waiting for more information about how the scheme will work, in terms of matching, safeguarding and supporting both guests and hosts. We understand that charities and faith groups will be involved in the matching process, including the Sanctuary Foundation which is another place where you can pledge your interest in supporting hosting and future community-based sponsorship programmes.
The first people supported by the Boaz Trust back in 2004 were hosted by local people here in Greater Manchester who had a spare room available and since then over 250 people have been hosted by families and individuals in our local communities. We've also accommodated and supported hundreds more refugees and people seeking sanctuary through our shared houses and winter night shelters.
This week, you might have heard us speaking about our work on local and national radio. We've been speaking about the importance of welcoming refugees and the value of hosting as a community response, and we've also been calling on the UK Government to do more to welcome refugees, wherever they may come from. You can listen back to one of our hosts, Joel, being interviewed about his experiences of hosting with Boaz on Radio 4's PM programme here (at about 48 minutes), and you can also find our Advocacy and Communications Manager, Amy, talking on UCB radio here.
Sadly, since the Covid pandemic we have not been running our hosting scheme, however due to the overwhelming interest in hosting following news coverage of the crises in Afghanistan and more recently Ukraine we wanted to share some useful information for anyone who is interested in welcoming refugees in this way.
Our friends at the NACCOM network are serving as a triage service for hosting organisations, including groups working in Greater Manchester. If you are interested in exploring hosting, we would highly recommend completing NACCOM's Happy To Host form.
If you are specifically interested in supporting and hosting any new arrivals from Ukraine, we are still unclear what the new government schemes will look like. The UK government is regularly updating this page as things develop in terms of their plans to welcome more Ukrainians and this may include through different visa schemes, sponsorship and also hosting. On 11th March, the BBC reported that Michael Gove will be giving an announcement on Monday 14th about a new visa scheme which will involve local host households.
You can register interest in the new sponsorship scheme specifically for Ukrainians here through the newly formed Sanctuary Foundation. This is for individuals who want to know more about getting involved in any sponsorship schemes locally as well as groups who may be ready and waiting to sponsor new arrivals.
We hope this information is useful. If you are keen to welcome refugees in your community, why not write and tell your local MP? With the new Nationality and Borders Bill making its way through parliament, at Boaz we believe it is more important than ever that we speak out in support of people who have had no choice but to flee their homes and are seeking sanctuary here in the UK.