What is the Community Sponsorship Programme?
Community Sponsorship is a an exciting new programme that allows gives people across Ireland the opportunity to come form a group and welcome resettled refugees to their local communities. Refugee families have often been waiting for years on UNHCR resettlement lists in countries like Jordan and Lebanon. Community sponsorship gives the opportunity to people in Ireland to provide a welcome and a home to people desperately waiting for sanctuary.
Groups are asked to fundraise and find accommodation and are then matched with a refugee family in need of resettlement by the Department of Justice. Regional support organisations like Nasc provide support and training to groups throughout the process.
Some of the supports a Community Group provides for the refugee family include:
- Sourcing accommodation for a period of 24 months for a resettled family or individuals
- Providing supports as needed for a minimum period of 18 months
- Fundraising a certain amount in advance of the arrival of the resettled family or individuals
- Language, healthcare, educational and other orientation supports along the way
Community Sponsorship began in Ireland in December 2018. Since then, almost 20 groups have taken part in the programme. Excitingly, several have already welcomed refugees to their communities. You can learn more about some of the groups in Cork and the families that have arrived in this feature in The Echo.
Why get involved?
There are lots of reasons to get involved in Community Sponsorship. By getting involved, you are directly supporting and offering friendship to refugees as they move to Ireland for the first time. You are helping to build bridges between newcomers and settled communities and you are bringing people together. Groups we’ve worked with have found the experience overwhelmingly positive and told us that the being part of a community sponsorship group connected people and helped create more welcoming communities.
Read Joan's story and why she became a Community Sponsorship here.
How do I find out more?
If you are interested in finding out how your local community can sponsor a refugee family, please contact Nasc's Community Sponsorship Project Worker Maria Bateson at email@example.com.