Newsletter, September 2018
Things have moved on a bit since our June newsletter. On July 31st we had a meeting of KCRS supporters in Kingston’s Guildhall to share ideas on how to find suitable accommodation for a refugee family. We have an initial draft of the written resettlement plan to be submitted for Home Office approval. We have developed a fund-raising strategy and taken aspects of this forward. We have also worked on some “back-room” projects, for example our data protection policy and practices and our ICT support more generally. More on some of this below, with a major focus on fund-raising.
On behalf of KCRS trustees, I hope that you have enjoyed the sunny summer and that you continue to see the ambition of KCRS to resettle vulnerable refugee families in our local area as a worthy aim.
Thank you for your support
Contact via KingstonCRS@gmail.com
KCRS fund-raising strategy
The Home Office requires that we have £9000 in the bank in order to receive permission to resettle a refugee family. KCRS trustees are treating this as a minimum requirement and have a fund-raising target of (at least) “a hundred £100s”, i.e. £10,000. At present, thanks mainly to some generous individual donations, we have raised just over £2,500 so we still have a way to go. Here’s our strategy for raising the rest of the money. It relies on support from our members so please take time to think how you might be able to help.
We are hoping that at least 50 people – members and supporters and their friends, families, co-workers, fellow congregants etc., will pledge to give £5 or £10 per month for a year. We have therefore registered KCRS with LocalGiving. LocalGiving raises funds from big donors and uses these funds to, at least partially, match money raised by their registered charities - such as KCRS. So if you, or someone you know, can afford £10 per month and LocalGiving can match it completely then that’s two of our “100 £100s” – even more than this with Gift Aid. Just £5 per month for a year would be one of our “100 £100s” with matched funding .
If you visit our website (Google: “Kingston KCRS”) and click on the “Support Us” tab, you’ll see that we now have a “Donation” page which explains everything in more detail. Please note especially that for KCRS to receive matched funding you should wait until we tell you that LocalGiving has started a matched funding campaign. This is usually in the Autumn; we’ll let you know when it happens.
If all of that sounds too complicated then we are happy to also receive straightforward donations. Our website tells how to do this at https://kcrs.org.uk/support-us/money-skills-and-time/ or you can go to the LocalGiving website (https://localgiving.org/ ) then go to their search page and search for us by name – “Kingston Community Refugee Sponsorship”.
As part of our fund-raising strategy we are hoping to find five individuals or teams who are ready to organise fund-raising events, each team with a target of £500. Fund-raising activities might be anything from sponsored Abseiling to a Zumbathon. You can register as a KCRS fund-raiser at LocalGiving – they have plenty of fund-raising ideas. Also, they can collect the money you raise, as you raise it, and pass it on to us. Contact us at email@example.com or via our website: https://kcrs.org.uk/contact-us/ , if you are thinking about being a fund-raiser.
Currently, we have two events planned:
Fund-raising quiz night: On the evening of Monday 3/December there will be a quiz-night in aid of KCRS at The Willow bar/restaurant (16 The Triangle, KT1 3RT). Entrance will be £5 per head and a raffle at £5 per strip of tickets means that we will raise £500 if we can organise 10 tables of 5 people. Do you think you could promise to fill a table? If so, or if you just want to join one of the other tables, then let us know.
Fund-raising dinner: We want to run a Syrian-themed fund-raising dinner. We don’t have a date yet because we first need a volunteer event manager to help us plan and organise the dinner. Could this be you? Could you encourage someone else to volunteer?
Information and Communication
- As mentioned above, the KCRS website now has a donations page: https://kcrs.org.uk/support-us/money-skills-and-time/
- You might have noticed that the website also has a page (“About Community Sponsorship”) that summarises what we are about. We hope this will be useful if you are trying to encourage friends or family to support us.
- After taking expert advice, we have decided to move to Office365 for our email and IT support. This will allow additional security and flexibility. We will continue to use firstname.lastname@example.org for the time being and will keep you informed as the changes take place.
- We are planning to launch a Facebook group page for KCRS. This will help us keep you informed and also it will be a place where KCRS members can easily communicate with the trustees and with each other. It will be a “closed” group, meaning that content will be monitored and only invited members (i.e. you) can post messages. It will be your choice as to whether or not you want to join the KCRS Facebook group; we will also continue to use email and our website to keep in touch with members.
Newsletter, July 2018
It was exciting to get official charity status in June and to have such a successful launch event with so many local people showing support for our ambition to resettle refugee families in Kingston. It would be wonderful if we could just flick a switch to have our first family arrive in Kingston. Life’s not like that – there’s a lot of work to be done first. Our prime ambitions are finding accommodation, fund-raising and getting Home Office permission to resettle refugee families but, as well as trying to move forward on each of those, we have been getting to grips with some of the background tasks that go alongside achieving our objectives. Here’s a sketch of what has occupied the attention of KCRS trustees since our launch in June.
KCRS in the news
The 6/June launch event for KCRS was reported in the Surrey Comet. Additionally, Liberal Judaism, which enthusiastically supports Community Sponsorship, featured the involvement of Kingston Liberal Synagogue in KCRS in its on-line news. The Jewish Chronicle, which has national print circulation, also reported the launch.
KCRS member, Sam Alston, has volunteered to look after our website. Sam has now had some training with the software that runs the website and has plans for expanding its content.
As a registered charity, KCRS is obliged to meet a variety of regulatory requirements. One of these is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) whose main purpose is to ensure the confidentiality of personal information. GDPR considers photographs of people to potentially be personal information so, to be compliant with its regulations, we have deleted those launch event photographs in which faces (other than those of the speakers) were clearly visible.
Being a registered charity makes it easier for KCRS to open a bank account. Our application to do so with a local bank was very recently approved. Having a bank account will help with fund-raising and we hope to see a donate button here soon!
Finding accommodation for refugee families
Finding suitable and affordable accommodation is a big challenge. We are organising a brainstorming meeting of those people who attended the KCRS launch event and indicated that they would be willing to get involved in searching for accommodation. If you ticked that box on your KCRS membership form then you should have received an email message about this meeting. If you didn’t tick that box but do want to be involved then contact KCRS us here.
We have drafted a fund-raising strategy and have reviewed this with the support group Kingston Voluntary Action (KVA) whose mission is to advise local voluntary groups such as ourselves. Expect to see more details about fund-raising in our next update.
Kingston featured in Refugee Summit
On 29/June, the community organising charity, Citizens UK, held a “refugee summit” in central London. Part of the day’s agenda was to launch a campaign to urge extension past 2020 of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). As part of the campaign launch, the meeting celebrated significant contributions to refugee resettlement. Kingston councillor Fiona Boult received a certificate recognising Kingston’s contribution – being the first borough to agree to participate in the VPRS scheme and, more recently, hosting events to encourage community sponsorship. KCRS was represented by its chair, having been invited as one of the newly formed community sponsorship groups.
We held a very successful launch of KCRS in June; the attendance and positive response exceeded our expectations.
We were addressed by the Mayor of Kingston who promised to contribute personally to our fundraising. Meeting in All Saints Church, we were joined by people from across the community who were keen to help out, offering a variety of skills.
It was a promising launch event and a great start for KCRS - read the full press release below:
A group of Kingston faith communities are working together to sponsor one or more refugee families as part of the government’s “Community Sponsorship” scheme. In this scheme the UK government identifies a refugee family who are especially vulnerable in their current situation abroad, for example because of serious health problems. A charity then locates suitable accommodation for the family, provides a welcome when they arrive in the UK, and supports the family for two years, helping them integrate into British life. The Kingston group has registered with the Charities Commission as “Kingston Community Refugee Sponsorship (KCRS)” and will shortly be seeking Home Office approval to bring a vulnerable refugee family to Kingston. The faith communities currently involved in KCRS are All Saints, St John the Evangelist, Kingston and New Malden Methodists, Kingston Quakers and Kingston Liberal Synagogue. KCRS held its launch event on 6th June at All Saints Church to publicise their work and to invite other organisation and interested individuals to become involved. The launch event was opened by the recently installed Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Thay Thayalan, and his deputy, Councllor Olivia Boult. The mayor promised his personal support for the new charity. Members of a Community Sponsorship group in Merton talked about their own experience of supporting a refugee family. Maurice Wren, CEO of the Refugee Council, gave a keynote speech and Tim Finch, Director of Sponsor Refugees, gave a summary of the current state of Community sponsorship in the UK. Ruth Ruse, lay Chair of Kingston Anglican Deanery Synod presented their generous launching donation to KCRS. Concluding the event, Vince Daly, KCRS chair, pointed out that successful sponsorship of a refugee family will depend upon the local community’s donations of time, skills and money. Anyone interested in becoming involved in KCRS can contact the group via their website (Google: KCRS Kingston) or by email at KingstonCRS@gmail.com.
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