CHARIS is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. It has been formed by three Churches, Taunton Vineyard, Creech St Michael Baptist Church and St Mary Magdalene. CHARIS was formed in direct response to the Government's opportunity to sponsor refugee families from the Middle East. Moved by the plight of thousands of refugees, the three churches set up the charity and applied to the Home Office to become a Community Sponsor. We received our first family in July 2017 and a second family in April 2018.
From the outset, CHARIS was passionate about making a difference, even if it was to just one life. Our desire to see one family offered hope and their circumstances transformed was quickly realised. We found that the Community Sponsorship Scheme designed by the UK Government was a wonderful programme which many community groups could access and make a difference to the lives of many refugees.
Our vision to bring hope and transform the lives of refugees is growing by the day, we realised that we too were being transformed through resettling families and hoped that others including our communities and neighbourhoods could also be changed in the way we have, and relate more positively to the world around us and in our relationships with others.
We hope and seek to achieve this through three main activity streams.
First and still very much our core focus is the family resettlement program. In this we resettle vulnerable refugee families fleeing the Middle East, under the Government’s Community Sponsorship scheme. We hope to continue to do this as long as we have the resources, people and funding to do so.
Our second area is to encourage and support other groups similar to ourselves to do the same. We have recently become a regional coordinator for supporting the growth of Community Sponsorship across the South West.
Thirdly, we are seeking to set up a Welcome Centre for all refugees here in Taunton. Our heart for this centre is to create a sustainable resource base for all refugees to access and a point of engagement and interaction allowing community groups and refugees to work and learn together on projects and in activities. To this end we are delighted to be undertaking some research to assess the need and source appropriate funding.
Watch this space for more information...