In 2021, we talked to 15 Community Sponsorship groups who welcomed refugee families between November 2017 and June 2019. We asked them to look back and reflect on how things had gone, what they’d learnt, and what they’d like to pass on to future Community Sponsorship groups.
You can download the full analysis as a PDF at the bottom of this page. We have summarised the findings below.
Begin with the end in mind. Community Sponsorship groups emphasised the need to work with the family as early as possible to prepare a strategy for transitioning away from intensive, regular support. This keeps everyone focussed on the family’s progress to independence.
Lockdown and pandemic restrictions made achieving independence harder. Where groups were still providing support to families at the end of the 2 years, this was mostly to help the family understand complex language in official correspondence or bureaucratic settings, including booking medical appointments, all of which changed with covid restrictions in place.
Volunteers found supporting families to navigate the UK benefits system very challenging. All groups needed additional support from Reset and/or their Lead Sponsors due to the complexity of the system.
Volunteers found supporting people to learn English who had little to no experience of formal education challenging. It was important for volunteers to adapt their strategies to support people without any formal schooling to centre the person being supported, rather than persist with teaching methods that were ill-suited and ineffective for that individual.
60% of Community Sponsorship groups we spoke to were already considering or actively working on subsequent applications to support more refugee families.