10 October 2018
Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, was one of the presenters at the UK’s first Community Sponsorship Awards.
The ceremony was created by Citizens UK to recognise the quiet British heroes who have responded to the refugee crisis by welcoming Syrian families into their communities.
Awards were given for a diverse range of community champions who have helped refugees settle via the Home Office approved Community Sponsorship scheme in villages, towns and cities across the UK.
Danny presented the prize for Local Authority Supporter of Community Sponsorship to Simon Sandberg and Lambeth Council. The other nominees for the award were Pembrokeshire County Council and City of Edinburgh Council.
Danny said: “It was honour to be part of these awards and honour those who have done so much to help refugees – finding them housing, assisting them in accessing services, schools and employment and performing other acts of kindness.”
Simon Sandberg is the project manager for Syrian resettlement at Lambeth Council, which has resettled 28 Syrian families to date was the home borough for the first ever Community Sponsorship project in the UK at Lambeth Palace, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The council works closely with South London Liberal Synagogue and its Abraham’s Tent project to turn part of the shul into a home for a refugee family.
Danny was chosen to present an award as he was active in the campaign for the Government to introduce Community Sponsorship and was the chair of the advisory group to Sponsor Refugees when it was launched at Sukkot a year ago.
Other winners on the night included Raynes Park Community Church, named Community Sponsorship Group of the Year, and Guardian journalist Steven Morris who won the Sponsorship Champion of the Year award.
The Volunteer of the Year prize was shared by Khairunissa Dhala of The Welcome Committee and Lubna Akbar of Refugee Sponsorship Edinburgh.
The event was hosted by BBC Radio 4 Claudia Hammond. Presenters of awards also included Jim Estill, the Canadian businessman who has spent more than $1.5 million of his own money resettling 200 Syrian refugees in Guelph in Canada.
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