Refugee resettlement

UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS)

The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) was launched in January 2014 and closed to new arrivals on 25 February 2021. VPRS provided sanctuary to those fleeing the Syrian conflict in neighbouring countries in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.

The UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) started in March 2021. Its purpose is to settle vulnerable refugees in need of protection from regions affected by conflict and instability across the globe.

The scheme is run in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR). The UK supports the UNHCR’s global effort to relieve the humanitarian crisis through the provision of resettlement opportunities for vulnerable people who have registered with the UNHCR and where resettlement is considered necessary.  Read more about UNHCR.

Since July 2017, we have resettled 16 families in the Cherwell District. We are committed to welcoming 18 families in total.

Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which went live on 1 April 2021, offers relocation or other assistance to those who served alongside our armed forces in Afghanistan and provided important support to Her Majesty’s Government defence and security mission there, predominantly those who were employed directly, or in certain special cases via contractors, and who are assessed to be at serious risk as a result of such work. It is available to people regardless of rank or role, or length of time served, and builds on the long-standing support already available. The policy provides for the principal applicant to bring their close family members (spouse and under 18 children) to the UK and significantly expands the eligibility criteria from the previous scheme. Other family members may be eligible in exceptional circumstances.

Cherwell has fulfilled its commitment to resettle 6 ARAP families to the district.

Connection Support are the lead agency providing resettlement support to families for the first two years of a family arriving.

Volunteering - can you help?

Volunteers play a vital role in the resettlement of refugee families. There are a variety of ways volunteers can help in the delivery of support; from helping families get to know their local area to supporting English conversation. Anyone who would like to get involved in supporting refugee families is invited to contact Connection Support on 01865 711267 or email

For up-to-date information on our resettlement schemes and examples of the amazing ways volunteers are helping the refugee families, read our latest community newsletter. To see what else we have been doing, you can access our newsletter back catalogue here.

Support services within Oxfordshire

There are many services available throughout Oxfordshire.

English learning (ESOL) in Cherwell:

Activate Learning offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes at different levels. Your level will be assessed to check which class would be the best for you to join. You will study all aspects of the English Language, including speaking and listening, reading and writing, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.  Telephone: 0800 612 6008.

​​​​​​EMBS College offer classes for everyone who wants to learn English as an additional language. Classes run in the day and evening. They have classes for complete beginners to advanced. The classes will help develop your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. The classes also support the need to carry out everyday tasks like buying bus tickets and attending doctors’ appointments. Telephone: 01865 776041.

Refugee Support:

  • Asylum Welcome offers support to asylum seekers, refugees and detainees who have fled persecution and danger in their own countries and seek refuge in Oxford and Oxfordshire. 
    Telephone: 01865 722082.
  • Refugee Resource provides psychological, social and practical support for refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants to help them heal from trauma and suffering, and to build new lives as part of Oxfordshire’s diverse community.  
    Telephone 01865 403280 or 0845 458 0055.
  • British Red Cross have a long tradition of providing practical and emotional assistance to vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees.
    Telephone 0300 333 5393 or email:

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