Principle 16: Recognising the practical contribution that our Church can make, we support the work of Catholic organisations such as Caritas, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and the St Vincent De Paul Society, as well as parish and diocesan initiatives, in upholding the human dignity of migrants and refugees.

Catholic organisations and dioceses across the country have been providing vital support to people seeking asylum, refugees and migrants. They often rely on the support of volunteers to assist in the delivery of their services and to allow them to reach all those in need.

If you have time to spare and are looking to get involved in your community, you may reach out to your diocese for further information or contact your local Catholic organisation for opportunities to get involved. 

CSAN has 52 member organisations and diocesan agencies, all of whom can be found on our website: https://www.csan.org.uk/member/

There is also a map of diocesan agencies, identifying the refugee support projects they are running: https://www.csan.org.uk/resettlement-toolkit/diocese-resettlement-services-map/

Principle 9. We encourage the extension of safe routes such as resettlement programmes, visa schemes and humanitarian corridors so that people can exercise their right to migrate in a dignified and humane manner.

One way in which you may volunteer is to donate your time to support a resettled family in your community, or to donate a room in your home as safe shelter for individuals fleeing conflict. There are a number of resettlement programmes available in the UK to support refugees, which you can learn more about via our online guide to refugee resettlement.

Two of the main ones are noted below:

Host a Ukrainian family:

The Government launched Homes for Ukraine in March 2022 to allow Ukrainian nationals to apply for visas to join family/sponsors in the UK. Responding to the Catholic community’s call to support the scheme, St John of God’s Hospitaller Services (SJOG) in partnership with CSAN, launched a matching service for in September 2022.

SJOG provide a matching, training and support service for both hosts and guests, working with European counterparts to support displaced Ukrainians in neighbouring countries to Ukraine, advising those willing to be matched to UK hosts and preparing them for life in the UK, whilst also arranging their transport to the UK – a safe route for them to reach the UK whilst receiving the necessary support and orientation. Further information on the SJOG service can be found on their website: https://sjog-homesforukraine.uk/.

Principle 10: We must not allow the concerns that some communities might have about migration to be exploited for political purposes or allow such concerns to develop into a xenophobic attitude; Christian communities must play their part in providing a genuine welcome to migrants and refugees.

Get involved with community sponsorship:

The Catholic community across England & Wales responded to Pope Francis’ call ‘to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate’ refugees and migrants, by welcoming resettled families from Syria into their communities via the Community Sponsorship Scheme.

The scheme has supported many refugee families and benefitted many communities across the UK. Further information on what this involves and how you too can sponsor a family, can be found in the CSAN Guide to Refugee Resettlement: https://www.csan.org.uk/guidance/resettlement-in-the-uk-how-to-get-involved/

Please contact your diocese for further local support and guidance on getting involved in community sponsorship.


Image: The hospitality of Abraham