Community Sponsorship

Community sponsorship is a community-led way for ordinary people to welcome refugee families and support them to settle into their local communities in Ireland. Doras can support your local group to sponsor a refugee family in your area. Get in touch.

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Community Sponsorship is an innovative model of refugee resettlement which offers ordinary people and communities in Ireland an extraordinary opportunity to directly help refugees to rebuild their lives in safety and settle into their new communities.

How it works

Refugees referred to the Community Sponsorship programme, upon arrival, will go directly to the community where they will reside and immediately begin the process of settlement.

Under community sponsorship, private citizens and community organisations, rather than government officials, become the face of welcome for resettled refugees arriving to Ireland, supporting them through the process by providing a range of social and emotional supports, as well as providing accommodation, assisting in learning the language and seeking employment, enrolling in schools and any other necessary supports.

Through the establishment of a Community Sponsorship programme in Ireland, communities are supported to provide direct assistance to refugees settling in their locality through a structured programme backed by a unique collaboration between government, UNHCR, NGOs and civil society.

How can I get involved

Doras is a Regional Support Organisation (RSO) for Community Sponsorship initiatives in counties Limerick, Tipperary and Clare and we can support your local group to sponsor a refugee family in your area.

Contact us: community@doras.org or a.mohamed@doras.org  

For other counties get in touch with the Open Community team: https://theopencommunity.ie/contact/

Participation in community sponsorship is voluntary and applications are open to all kinds of community groups, including local community groups, faith groups, businesses, neighbourhoods, and charities. Under Community Sponsorship, individuals and communities come together to form Community Sponsorship Groups (CSGs). A CSG must be comprised of a minimum core group of five people (including a primary and secondary sponsor), all of whom must be over 18 and legally resident in Ireland.

Community Sponsorship Groups will be expected to commit to sponsor a refugee family or individual for a period of 18 months and to ensure that housing is secured for a minimum period of two years. Sponsoring means the Community Sponsorship Group will provide all necessary supports to the family during the initial period of their resettlement in Ireland and assist the family’s successful integration into your community.

Sponsors will be required to demonstrate that they have a minimum of €10,000 on hand to support a sponsored family for the first 18 months. Groups can run fundraisers to get the initial amount.

In the first few months after arrival, the family will typically require a range of financial supports and expenses such as food, medical expenses, clothing, supports for education such as books and school uniforms etc.

Community Sponsorship Groups (CSGs) are required to find suitable accommodation for the family in their area. This can be facilitated through each group’s own creativity, ingenuity, resources as well as their community knowledge and networks.

While it is recognised that there are huge challenges in respect to finding accommodation, the success of the programme to date and the families who have been resettled via community sponsorship, demonstrates that securing independent accommodation for the duration of the sponsorship period is realistic and attainable.

Community sponsorship groups do not need to have any specific skills – anyone who lives in Ireland can help share their experience and advice on living in Ireland.

Nevertheless, there are some useful skills that will help the group better support a refugee family settling in:

  • Finance – budgeting, accounting, etc.
  • Child safeguarding knowledge
  • Ability to act as, or to access, interpreters (most often Arabic to English).
  • English language tuition
  • Experience as a health practitioner
  • Local authority experience and/or contacts
  • Ability to find employment or training opportunities for the refugee families
  • Knowledge of or connections to places of worship, cultural centres, refugee support groups, like Doras.

Community Sponsorship Groups commit to providing support for a refugee family for a period of 18 months.

Sponsors meet the refugee family in the airport on day one to welcome them to Ireland and bring them to their new home, help them to get set up and provide initial orientation.

Sponsors are responsible for helping with things like finding employment, connecting to social services, and enrolling in schools. They are also responsible for helping with other things such as sourcing language lessons or translation services if required and introducing families to local public transport and amenities.

The Group is responsible for sourcing suitable accommodation, available to the family for at least two years.

In advance of the family or individual’s arrival, Community Sponsorship Groups are required to:

  • Complete relevant online training;
  • Undergo Garda vetting;
  • Appoint a child safeguarding liaison person and develop a Child Safeguarding Policy;
  • Complete Tusla’s Children First E-Learning Programme;
  • Develop a plan for how they will support the family;
  • Fundraise €10,000 to contribute to these supports.

Financial and non-financial support contributed by sponsors can include:

  • Exceptional needs or specialist costs for physical, mental and/or dental health
  • Transport
  • Interpretation / Translation
  • Language training
  • Housing
  • Employment preparation and job seeking
  • Start-up needs such as household supplies and furnishings
  • Clothing
  • Cultural and social activities
  • Access to religious activities
  • Access to education

You can visit the Open Community website: https://theopencommunity.ie/frequently-asked-questions/

The Open Community is the national support organisation for Ireland’s Community Sponsorship Programme for Refugees.

If you would like to find out more about Community Sponsorship and how to sponsor a refugee family in your local area, contact Doras by email: community@doras.org or a.mohamed@doras.org


What is Ireland's Community Sponsorship Programme?