The home office has appealed to churches to help integrate refugees, as it tries to meet a target of accepting 20,000 Syrians.

The Full Community Sponsorship scheme, launched last July, allows community groups to take responsibility for a refugee’s housing, and help them gain the training and knowledge necessary to begin a new life in Britain.

But since the scheme was launched in July, just two groups – the Salford branch of Catholic charity Caritas, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s residence – have agreed to sponsor a refugee family.

The Immigration Minister, Robert Goodwill, told the Catholic Herald that the scheme was a response to the “wave of compassion” from the British public at the plight of Syrian refugees.

A website, help-refugees-uk.service.gov.uk, lists local authorities which are open to help from community groups. Local residents can put themselves forward to offer a self-contained property for at least 12 months, career coaching or employment, and basic items such as clothes and electrical goods. People can also volunteer services such as fostering children, transport, running errands, and tutoring English.

In September 2015, David Cameron promised to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. The National Audit Office estimated that this could cost almost £2 billion. As of September 2016, 4,162 had arrived.

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