As part of your Community Sponsorship application, you will be doing lots of research into the services and organisations in your area that may be able to provide advice and support to the family you are supporting. As a Community Sponsorship Group, you aren’t expected to be experts on every subject, instead, you need to know what services you can help the family access should they be needed.
Every neighbourhood and community in the UK will be different, and it would be impossible for us to list all of the organisations who will be able to offer help to the family you’ll be supporting. Instead, we aim to provide guidance for how you can find the organisations who might be able to help you.
A note on other organisations
Keep in mind that not all charities or organisations in your area will be in a position to assist your Community Sponsorship Group. Many charities working in the resettlement space are providing support and services to refugees in your area on tight budgets and may not have the capacity to support you. In some cases, they may be less well-resourced than your Group. See if there are other ways in which you could work together; perhaps sharing best practice or trends of what is taking place in the area. It might be that you can work in partnership on projects and events. If you are working with a Lead Sponsor, be sure to check with them before reaching out to other organisations.
Ask around your neighbourhood
As a Community Sponsorship Group, you already know that there are huge amounts of knowledge and experience in your community; ask local organisations what they do and if there is any way in which you can work together.
You may find it useful to look into what organisations work with vulnerable people in the area as they are often linked into services that may be of use. As part of your application to be approved as a Community Sponsorship Group, you will be asked about what neighbourhood activities you will be able to link the family into and this research will be really useful here.
Make sure you speak to places of worship in your community. Many work through an interfaith network and have access to heaps of local knowledge.
Speak to your Local Authority
Working in partnership with your Local Authority is crucial to the success of your Community Sponsorship programme. When you are talking to them about getting consent to proceed with your application, ask:
- What work are they currently doing on resettlement in the area?
- Which organisations do they work with?
- Are there any activities that they are aware of that may be of interest to your Group or the family you will support?
Do make sure that the Local Authority are aware of any events or activities you are planning with the family. There may be others who are able to help you or others you can help.
You can find out whether your Local Authority participates in resettlement programmes via your Strategic Migration Partnership or via the immigration statistics which are released by the Home Office each quarter.
Networking in your local community will be crucial. Get out there and ask what is happening! Make sure people know what you are hoping to achieve and be open to working with others. Use local newsletters, forums and community venues to spread the news of what you are doing, being specific about the help you are seeking.
Find a charity
If you have a Volunteer Centre in your nearest town or city, ask them about the other charities in your area working with refugees or running services that might be of interest. Make sure they know what you are doing too; they might be able to assist you with access to training and finding volunteers.
You can also find charities via your nation’s charity commission. On these websites, you can search based on location, type of services and work, and subject matters:
- England and Wales: GOV.UK charity register search
- Northern Ireland: The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland charity search
- Scotland: OSCR Scottish Charity register search