Responding to the University of Birmingham's recommendations for Community Sponsorship training and support
It’s been just over 4 years since the first refugee family arrived in the UK through the Community Sponsorship scheme. The successful development of a new programme always depends upon independent and thorough evaluation, which is why we are so excited by the University of Birmingham’s research into Community Sponsorship.
In this blog, we share how we’ve adapted to address their recommendations, and what plans we have in place to continue to adapt.
1. Expanding the types of training that we offer
Reset trains Community Sponsorship Groups all over the UK. The Home Office requires that Groups attend our training before they begin welcoming refugees.
We recently split our compulsory training into two parts: an online webinar for Groups that are planning their applications, and a face-to-face session for Groups after they’ve submitted their applications to prepare them for the reality of supporting a vulnerable family. In addition to these compulsory sessions, we offer application workshops and weekly drop-in sessions on Zoom.
The University of Birmingham’s policy briefs made it clear that there is appetite amongst Group members to explore certain subjects in more depth than is possible within our current training sessions.
As a result, we've decided to expand the number of optional training sessions that we offer. We'll be partnering with independent experts who will deliver online training sessions on topics including safeguarding and welfare benefits.
As with anything that we do, we'll remain flexible and respond to Groups’ needs. We're open to suggestions for topics to cover in these in-depth sessions – just send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re really excited by the prospect of Groups anywhere in the UK being able to access high-quality training, tailored to the needs of Community Sponsorship Groups, in just a few clicks!
2. Working even closer with Community Sponsorship Groups
The University of Birmingham acknowledged in its policy briefs the extensive guidance available for Community Sponsorship Groups on our Training Website, but rightly identified that these resources aren't utilised as much as they could be. This means that we need to do a better job of publicising the support available to Groups.
We hope that our recent decision to split our compulsory training into two parts will help us to do this. Previously, Groups weren’t trained until after they had submitted their applications, meaning that we sometimes had very limited contact with Groups until after they finished writing their applications. We now deliver the first part of the training to Groups while they are planning their applications, giving us the opportunity to signpost Groups towards the relevant resources.
The University of Birmingham also highlighted the need for access for Group members to consistent support throughout their Community Sponsorship journey, including after the arrival of the refugee families that they're supporting. We have taken on the delivery of Post Arrival Support Visits, which will enable us to connect regularly with Groups once they've welcomed a refugee family. Through these visits, we'll be able to ensure that any Groups facing challenges are signposted towards the right support.
3. Promoting Training Website resources
We want the resources on our Training Website to be used as widely as possible so we're increasing our efforts to promote them on social media. We'll also continue to upload new resources to the website every month in order to broaden the support currently available.
We're grateful for the valuable insight provided by the University of Birmingham’s research, which gives us the opportunity to fine tune our support and training based on the needs of Community Sponsors and the refugees they support. We’re looking forward to expanding our training and support in line with their recommendations.
Responding to the University of Birmingham's recommendations for Community Sponsorship training and support is also published in Reset UK on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.