Start a Community Sponsorship Group
It’s brilliant that you're thinking about getting involved in Community Sponsorship by setting up your own Group. Across the UK lots of people just like you have made the same decision and have welcomed refugee families into their neighbourhoods as a result. This is the start of an amazing journey -- for you and your community!
Setting up a group can sound like a big task; and there's no denying it takes lots of work. Some of you might welcome that, but we know that others find it daunting. It's important for you to know that taking the initiative to set up a group doesn't mean that you have to go on to lead the group all the way through the Community Sponsorship process. While many group founders do go on to lead their groups, others step back and let other members of the community take the lead. Setting up a group means finding those people in your community with the dedication and capacity to make Community Sponsorship happen.
Groups have been set up in lots of different ways. Below you'll find a step-by-step guide to setting up a group. This guide is based on the successful routes that we've seen other groups take. You might want to follow this guide closely, or you might want to try something different -- do what works for you!
|Learn about Community Sponsorship|
We recommend you read through some of our material to make sure that you understand the main requirements for Community Sponsorship and how the journey from setting up a group to resettling a refugee family will unfold. A lot of the information that you'll read will be quite detailed and technical. Don't let this put you off! You don’t need to do everything right away and you certainly don't need to do anything on your own. We recommend taking a look at the following three pages to give you an overview of Community Sponsorship:
|Form a Steering Group|
A steering group is a core group of people who are central to making Community Sponsorship happen. Most Community Sponsorship groups can be divided into two sections: the steering group, which meets regularly and has a detailed understanding of the process, and a wider group of people who give their time less regularly, or only for a specific area of responsibility.
We recommend trying to build up a steering group as soon as you can. This can be as small as two people, but most groups find that around 5 people works best. It's often easiest to start building this group by working within pre-existing networks. We know of steering groups formed out of book groups, pub quiz teams, work colleagues, members of the same faith congregation and people who live in the same street. Think about how you can inspire the people around you to get involved. Invite them over to your home or a local cafe, show them the Community Sponsorship video, and pitch the idea to them.
If you don't have people in mind immediately to form the steering group, you can start raising awareness more widely. Lots of Community Sponsorship groups are made up of people who didn't know each other before forming the group! Holding a public meeting can be a great way to inform people about Community Sponsorship and get people on board with your plans. You could host a meeting in a public venue, like a community centre or a place of worship. You'll need to explain to people what Community Sponsorship is and what sort of support you're looking for. Remember to make sure that people have a way of getting in touch with you after the event! Here is a little toolkit to help you planning this step.
|Give your Group a name|
Establishing an identity for your group is really helpful when looking for people to join your group. It will also be important later down the line when you start fundraising.
A note on names: Refugees resettled via Community Sponsorship are selected through the VPRS and VCRS schemes, neither of which are restricted to refugees of any particular nationality. It is therefore not a good idea to reference any particular nationality (e.g. Syrian refugees) in your group name as you may be resettling refugees from elsewhere in the world. You can find out more about who is resettled through Community Sponsorship on our training website.
|Let people know what you are doing|
Once you've got your steering group together, you can think about how to raise awareness of your group more widely. There are lots of advantages to those in your area knowing your plans. You'll find that people with useful skills, such as experience of working with refugees or fluency in the language that the refugee family speaks (most commonly Arabic), will reach out to you. You'll have more opportunities for fundraising and you'll have a large pool of volunteers to draw from when the refugee family arrives. Having said that, we know that not every group feels comfortable with a high level of publicity and you shouldn't feel pressured to publicise your group if you prefer to keep a low profile.
Some ways that you can raise awareness of your group are:
Remember to get in touch with Reset to let us know that you're starting up a group! We'll be able to offer support and guidance and can connect you with our partner organisations, all of whom are experts in Community Sponsorship. We can also help you to establish connections locally and nationally with other Community Sponsorship groups. Being able to speak to those that have already sponsored refugees will be invaluable.
Once you've got a group together, you can start thinking about how to organise your group (e.g. what roles people should take and how your group members will work together and communicate). Our Training and Support Website provides you with useful resources to help you with this. Set up an account and you will have the full access to all tof our materials.
Throughout the process of setting up a new group, you'll find lots of support available to you in addition to our Training and Support Website. Here at Reset, we're always more than happy to answer your questions, give advice, and connect you with our partners as well as other Community Sponsorship groups -- just get in touch!
Now you can start making your application