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Sponsorship Journey

Community Sponsorship allows you to welcome and support a refugee family in your local community. The support that you offer begins as soon as the family arrives in Ireland and lasts for 18 months. During this time, you and your community sponsorship group will help equip the refugee family you welcome with all of the skills and knowledge required to live independently in Ireland.


There are three stages on the Community Sponsorship Journey and at each stage there is a wealth of support and resources to help you succeed:

  • This stage begins with forming a Community Sponsorship Group and finishes once you have submitted your initial application form and been approved by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. 

  • Community Sponsorship is voluntary and open to everyone - anyone can be a member of a sponsorship group!  The only requirement is that a group consists of a minimum of 5 people, but generally groups will have between 10 and 12 core members.

  • Some groups many be formed from pre-existing connections such as through a local sports team, a faith congregation or local community group while other groups may be formed from people who do not know each other beforehand and who are completely new connections. 

  • Once you have formed your group, you can begin preparing your initial Application Form.

  • In the Application Form you will be asked to introduce your group, explain who the members are and what each person’s role will be.  This will include nominating a Primary Sponsor and Secondary Sponsor who will act as the lead points of contact for you community sponsorship group.

  • You will be asked to outline how you plan to fundraise (you will need to raise 10,000 euro, 2,000 of which can be in-kind, to help support the family during the sponsorship period) as well as agree to completing Garda Vetting and to developing a Child Safeguarding Policy for your group.

  • This may seem a little daunting but remember you will have a wide range of supports made available to you at every step of the way.

  • You will be supported by a Regional Support Organisation who will help you draft your Application Form and Settlement Plan. 

  • The Open Community also has a wealth of online supports and resources to help guide and support you throughout the sponsorship process.

  • This stage begins once you have submitted your Application Form and received a letter from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth confirming your status as a Community Sponsorship Group and finishes when you have submitted your Settlement Plan.

  • In the Settlement Plan you will explain how you plan to support the refugee family during the 18 month sponsorship period.

  • You will need to talk about where the family will live and how your group will secure suitable housing for the family (housing must be available for 24 months).  Refugees resettled through Community Sponsorship will be entitled to apply for HAP benefits in Ireland which will allow the family to rent a property independently.

  • Your role will be to source a property that is available to the family immediately when they arrive.

  • You will also begin you fundraising activities and will be asked to evidence that you have secured the required minimum 10,000 euros in order to complete the Settlement Plan.  The funds raised will be used on things like school uniforms, paying translators and covering general living expenses.  

  • You will also need to explain how you will ensure the family has access to other support including, help accessing social welfare, navigating immigration mechanisms, accessing housing payments, help seeking employment opportunities, provision of English language lessons, help securing school places for families with children as well as signing the family on with a GP, dentist and other medical services.

  • You will received detailed, expert training which will be available for all of your group members to attend.

  • Once you have completed your Settlement Plan you can submit it via your RSO to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.



This stage begins from the moment your group welcomes a refugee family at the airport and continues throughout the sponsorship period as you help the family to settle and integrate into their new community.

Immediately on Arrival

  • You will meet the family at the airport so the support you offer starts as soon as the family arrives in Ireland.

  • Your group will welcome the family into their new accommodation and make sure that the family has all the basic essentials for their first few days and nights in Ireland.

  • When the family arrives, you will need to make sure that there are interpreters ready to help the family to communicate.

  • You will provide the family with a welcome booklet available to them in their first language and arrange orientation supports and visits throughout the first number of days to help the family familiarise themselves with the local area and their new home.

During the sponsorship period

  • Your Community Sponsorship Group will support the family over the first 18 months of their resettlement.  During this time you will equip them with all the tools needed for them to feel empowered in their new lives in Ireland.

  • As part of your groups safeguarding commitment you will have to ensure that there are safeguarding measures in place to keep the family safe.  These safeguarding measures also extends to your group to help ensure you are happy and well supported in your roles as volunteers. Your RSO will be on hand to assist you with these measures so don’t worry if you don’t have any safeguarding experience.

  • The types of support that the r family will need vary according to each family.  But some of the main areas of support needed include:

    • Social Welfare support - Benefits applications, help obtaining their Irish Residence Permit (IRP) cards and Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSN).

    • English language lessons - online as well as in person conversational and formal lessons with an opportunity to obtain a qualification.

    • Employment support - facilitate volunteering and work experience opportunities, help developing CV skills and recognition of prior qualifications.

    • Healthcare support - access to local GP practice, dental and other medical services including mental health supports.

  • When the family first arrive, they may want and need a high level of support from your group but over time this support will be needed less and less. 

  • Your aim as a Community Sponsorship Group is to provide a strong network of support that ultimately allows the family to live a happy, independent and safe life in Ireland.

Useful Link: What is Ireland's Community Sponsorship Programme?

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