LRSG started in early 2017 in response to both the media and social media coverage of the refugee crisis in Europe - both around Calais in France and on the Greek Islands exacerbated by the various areas of conflict in the Middle East.
A group in our neighbouring town Bude had recently set up a Refugee Support Group and was aiming to resettle one or more families under the community sponsorship scheme of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). Various groups across Cornwall were also collecting and sending help for people trapped around Calais.
Inspired to follow these examples the group set about starting both fundraising, awareness raising, and material collections with an aim to contribute what we could towards helping with the situation in Europe, and getting refugee families resettled in Europe.
There was massive and generous support from the wider community in Launceston. The town has a proud history of helping refugees and displaced people in previous times, and a natural sympathy and generosity of spirit which was heart-warming to uncover.
By the end of 2017 we were in a position to start working directly towards resettlement in Launceston. By this time Cornwall Council had softened their original position of only taking their 'quota' of refugees around Truro, and were prepared to work with us to develop a hybrid model combining the best features of the Community and Council sponsored arms of the VPRS.
Administrative and communications problems with the Charity Commission meant that it took six months for our application for charitable status to be approved, but this was achieved by June 2018.