Community Sponsorship

Al Sulaiman Family

Community Sponsorship is a model for refugee resettlement which was developed in Canada in the late 1970’s, which invites local communities to come together to support the effective resettlement of refugees. It has been enormously successful in Canada and a number of countries are beginning to develop their own programmes. The UK and Argentina have recently launched programmes and in September 2017 the Irish Government announced that they are in the process of developing their own initiatives. The Programme is due to be launched in the Summer of 2018.

Nasc has long called for the introduction of a Community Sponsorship Programme in Ireland, particularly in the context of our national Safe Passage Campaign, which called for the introduction of a humanitarian admission programme and corresponding community sponsorship to reunite families fleeing conflict. We were delighted when the Irish government announced in late 2017 both the introduction of a family reunification humanitarian admission programme (FRHAP) and community sponsorship.

Wicklow Community Sponsorship Pilot

Since 2015, Nasc has been working closely with a voluntary community group in Wicklow – Wicklow Syria Appeal – to bring a Syrian refugee family to come live in Wicklow under a pilot community sponsorship project. The family are arriving to Ireland through refugee family reunification.

Over the last two and a half years, Nasc and the WSA are working together to support the family’s arrival to Ireland. Nasc has been providing legal advice and support to the family throughout the family reunification application process, and in securing the necessary resources and travel documents required to come to Ireland. WSA have secured a private rented house for the family and are preparing the Wicklow community for the arrival of the Syrian family by raising awareness at events and on social media. Once the family arrive, we will be supporting the family to integrate and rebuild their lives as part of the Wicklow Community.

This is a unique and innovative collaborative project – the first of its kind in Ireland. We believe it can become a positive model for other communities across Ireland to develop similar projects to welcome refugees. It can also become a model to support the Government in developing community sponsorship nationally, which they are due to roll out this coming summer.

For more information about the Nasc & Wicklow Syria Appeal Community Sponsorship project and how to donate to support it, click here.

What is Community Sponsorship and how can I get involved?

Community Sponsorship enables communities to play an active role in welcoming refugees, by providing some forms of in-kind support as well as social and/or emotional support to refugees in the local community. Such initiatives not only provide a real future for the refugees themselves but also have proven to bring communities closer together.

Community Sponsorship has proved to be enriching and rewarding for both communities and refugees in equal measure. It also provides a way for communities to be part of the response to the ongoing refugee crisis in a real and life changing way. Communities commit to formally supporting people for an initial period of 12 months to ensure that they are supported to rebuild their lives and become active members of their community. The supports provided includes: meeting people at the airport; providing a warm welcome and cultural orientation; providing housing; furniture; supporting access to medical and social services; English language tuition; and support towards employment and self-sufficiency.

We expect the Government to announce their new Community Sponsorship Programme in the next few months. If you are interested in finding out how your local community can sponsor a refugee family, please contact Nasc at info@nascireland.org.

Watch this video documenting a Community Sponsorship project in the UK: