Developments in Community Sponsorship
Community Sponsorship is a young and changing programme so new initiatives and processes can come about quickly. We know that Groups and Local Authorities aren’t always clear on the most up to date procedures, so we’ve recapped below some of the most recent and biggest changes to the Community Sponsorship scheme. If you’re ever unclear on what you need to do at any stage of your Community Sponsorship journey, please contact the Reset team.
Up to the end of June 2019, 344 refugees have been resettled through the amazing work of Community Sponsorship Groups. We are currently aware of 140 Groups working through the Community Sponsorship application process.
Key updates & reminders:
Application Form – the only form that the Home Office will accept is the version dated ‘December 2018’. This is available via gov.uk – it replaces the 2 part form which separated out the resettlement plan.
Approval in Principle – you can now submit your application to the Home Office for Approval in Principle (AiP). This means that you do not need to have sourced accommodation or fully raised the £9,000 before you submit your application. We recommend working to AiP because it’s much easier to look for a property and to negotiate with landlords when you know you have already received approval to proceed. If you apply for AiP, you won’t know which area of your Local Authority the property will be in. This is fine -- you just need to demonstrate on your application form that you understand the school, GP and Job Centre process in the general area.
Training – all Groups must receive training from Reset prior to being approved to welcome a family through Community Sponsorship. We deliver this training all over the UK to Groups who have submitted their applications. We are also able to deliver ‘refresher’ sessions for Groups as a reminder on your approach to Community Sponsorship
Police Board Consultation – when you have found a property as part of your Community Sponsorship application, you must ensure that your local Safer Neighbourhood Team in your Police Force have accepted that there isn’t any security concerns in a refugee family being housed there. The Home Office Team have made the process clearer, with a form for you to give to the Police
Support and advice – there is support available from many different organisations and individuals, and you can decide who you get help from (or if you would like any at all)! The Reset Training Website hosts a huge range of resources and advice, from understanding interpreting options through to dealing with challenging situations after the family has arrived. Some resources require you to have a user account on the website.
Post Arrival Support – Reset offers a free advice service for all Community Sponsorship Groups who have welcomed a family
Void property costs – once the family arrives, you can claim for up to 8 weeks of LHA-rate rent that you may incur as you await your arrival date
Working in Partnership – Reset are able to provide advice and support to Lead Sponsors and Local Authorities
Family Composition – we know it’s really tough for Community Sponsorship Groups when applying to be approved in that you always work in the abstract, you’re asked to research schools in the area, provision of GPs and to calculate the amount of benefits that the family will receive. All of this is done when you do not yet know the make up of the family you will welcome. We urge Groups to keep an open mind to who the family may be.