On Sunday, US philanthropist Ed Shapiro pledged £1 million to launch a special fund aimed at encouraging growth in the UK’s Community Sponsorship Scheme. The fund will reduce the financial exposure of Lead Sponsors by providing a backstop that they can access as a last resort if a local Community Sponsorship Group is unable to fulfil its resettlement plan for the refugee family they have welcomed.
At Reset we’re putting the pieces in place to hold and administer the Community Sponsorship Backstop Fund. We need to work through the full sign-off process with our Board of Trustees, but everyone at Reset, both staff and trustees, is really excited about this approach to unlocking the potential of sponsorship. We’re proud to have the opportunity to play a central role in the delivery of this approach and we’re grateful to Ed Shapiro’s generosity and sustained interest in Community Sponsorship in the UK.
The fund will help Community Sponsorship in the UK to scale because it will allow Lead Sponsors (who are legally and financially liable for local Community Sponsorship Groups) to take responsibility for a further 200 Community Sponsorship applications. Lead Sponsors have a strong track record to date on fulfilling their obligations, and it is hoped this fund will enable them to support more groups, safe in the knowledge that there is financial support available should a serious problem arise. This generous initiative could enable approximately 1,000 additional refugees to be resettled in the UK!
Any Lead Sponsor will be able to apply to register with the fund, subject to providing a range of documentation. This includes charitable organisations which have already acted as Lead Sponsor and those which plan to do so.
The fund will be open for Lead Sponsors to register in early January… watch this space!
A registered Lead Sponsor will be able to receive up to a total of £5k for any registered case. This may be through a single £5k claim, or an initial £1k claim followed by a higher level claim capped at £4k because of the initial £1k already received. It will be possible to make a claim for £5k across the 24 months of a sponsorship agreement, and for £1k in the first year only.
Claims will be at the level of £5k for issues of significant concern or £1k for earlier signs of a problem facing the Group and Lead Sponsor (both assessed against a list of transparent criteria that will be available in early 2021).
No. Once open, the assurance fund will be only be open to applications approved by the Home Office in 2021.