To be approved for Community Sponsorship, you must first submit an application to the Home Office. There are many ways to approach this task and your way will be specific to how your Group is structured. The application is separated into four parts, the third of which is your “Community Sponsorship Resettlement Plan.” This section asks questions that give your Group the opportunity to demonstrate your preparedness to welcome a resettled family into your community. In order to be approved, you’ll need to do a significant amount of research into the services you’ll be providing a refugee family and communicate your plans in the application. Remember that your Group can apply for Approval in Principle without having housing or funding in place at the time of your application.
Every Group approaches their application differently. Some have divided the application into different research areas that specific core Group members write separately and combine later on. Other Groups have assigned one member to compile all the research that other Group members have written and write the application to maintain one consistent writing style. How you decide to organise your Group will influence how you approach writing the application. For Group leaders, it’s important to be clear from the beginning about how much information is needed for each section as you may find that one member writes two pages about interpreters and another member might submit two bullet points about ESOL.
What is the Home Office looking for in an application?
As mentioned above, the purpose of the application is to demonstrate that your Group has identified what it needs to take responsibility for welcoming a refugee family in your community. At the time of writing the application, you will be doing research in the abstract (you don’t know how many people will be in the family, their ages, their specific needs or interests) but you must show that you are prepared for different challenges; it’s not a question of being an expert, it’s about knowing the services and people you can call on should you need them
A key word in the application is empowerment. When formulating your answers, think about how to best enable the family to access the services you are writing about. You can find out more about empowerment in our online resource.
Also remember: quality over quantity! Be sure to answer the application’s questions directly without adding too much information, focus on answering what the question is asking. For example, when demonstrating that you are aware of the school registration process, you won’t need to give details of every conversation you’ve had with each school in the area. It will be important for your Group to have access to the research once a family has been allocated, but you only need to demonstrate to the Home Office that you have done the work.