Community Sponsorship IRELAND

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The Irish Red Cross has been formally appointed by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) as a Regional Support Organisation (RSO) for:
Area 4: Meath/ Kildare /Wicklow / Westmeath /Offaly
Area 6: Galway /Mayo / Longford /Roscommon
So, what is community sponsorship?
Community sponsorship is a new way to welcome refugees to Ireland.
It is a unique collaboration between Government, UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), NGOs and civil society. Unlike Ireland's existing refugee resettlement programme, where the State provides integration services directly, community sponsorship empowers members of the public to assume responsibility for providing a range of integration supports to a refugee family and to be the welcome point in their local community.
Community sponsorship aims to:
- Enhance Ireland’s long humanitarian tradition with forcibly displaced and persecuted people. Community sponsorship allows opportunities for communities to become involved directly in the support of resettled refugees.
- Irish communities involved in resettlement will provide support and assistance with housing, education, employment, language acquisition, social protection and social inclusion
- Involve a wider set of Irish individuals, civil society organisations, and community actors in refugee protection and integration.
- Maintain a human rights-based approach to protection, resettlement, and the well-being and security of refugees and Irish communities.
How is this done?
Participation in community sponsorship is voluntary and applications are open to all kinds of community groups, including local community groups, faith groups, businesses, neighbourhoods, charities etc.
In order to submit an application your group must consider and demonstrate the following:
- Your Group must be comprised of a minimum core group of five people (a primary and secondary sponsor and a minimum of three additional CSG support personnel), all of whom must be over 18. They should have an interest in other cultures, respect for diversity and a demonstrated connection to their community.
- Each member of the group must be legally resident in Ireland.
- You need to find the Regional Support Organisation in your area (RSO) who will advise you in preparing your application and be available to provide help and support to your group throughout the sponsorship period.
- Your group must nominate a Primary Sponsor who will assume responsibility for applying for approval to become sponsors in the first instance, and if approved, for leading the co-ordination and the delivery of the sponsorship commitments. He/she will be the primary point of contact for the Community Sponsorship
- Your group must also nominate a Secondary Sponsor who will support the Primary Sponsor in the co-ordination and the delivery of the sponsorship commitments. He/she will be the primary point of contact when the Primary Sponsor is unavailable.
- Your group should include individuals with a range of skill sets so that a varied level of experience is covered. For example, someone with experience in education, employment, financial supports and someone who has experience in working in an intercultural context or supporting vulnerable people would all be beneficial. In your settlement plan you will be asked to designate who has responsibility for each area.
- Your group must agree to undergo training in advance of the commencement of the programme.
- Your group must commit to raising a minimum of €10,000 to support a sponsored family, of which a maximum of €2,000 may be in-kind contributions. In your application you will be asked to provide details on any fundraising efforts to date and how you plan to raise funds to support the implementation of your resettlement plan and to cater for unexpected eventualities.
- Your Community Sponsorship Group will be expected to commit to sponsor a refugee family for a period of eighteen months and to ensure that housing is secured for a minimum period of two years.

Child Safeguarding and Garda Vetting

The safety of group members and the family they aim to support is of paramount importance to the success of the programme.

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016 make it mandatory for people working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Garda Síochána National Vetting Bureau. You must ensure that all personnel as part of your Group are fully vetted to support working with children and vulnerable adults and that they are suitable and of good character;

Children First guidance and legislation must be strictly adhered to in the implementation of community sponsorship. Organisations working with children and vulnerable adults are required to:

» Keep children safe from harm while they are using the service

» Carry out a risk assessment to identify whether a child or young person could be harmed while being supported by the group

» Develop a Child Safeguarding Statement that outlines the policies and procedures which are in place to manage the risks that have been identified

» Appoint a relevant person to be the first point of contact in respect of the organisation’s Child Safeguarding Statement.

Your Regional Support Organisation will assist you in meeting your safeguarding requirements. . Every member of your group will be required to complete a Garda vetting form which will be facilitated through your RSO. Successful completion of the vetting process must be submitted along with your settlement plan.

What is the role of the Irish Red Cross?

In addition to its mandate as an auxiliary to the Irish Government and as a member of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme Taskforce, the Irish Red Cross ensures that sponsors are well prepared to take on the responsibilities of their engagement via its role as a Regional Support Organisation (RSO).

Each Community Sponsorship Group will be required to align themselves with a Regional Support Organisation in their geographic area. The Irish Red Cross is the RSO for:

Area 4: Meath/ Kildare /Wicklow / Westmeath /Offaly

Area 6: Galway /Mayo / Longford /Roscommon

RSOs are organisations who enter into an agreement with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to provide training and support to a CSG in applying to participate in CSI and, if approved, in the delivery of resettlement support throughout the sponsorship period.

RSOs are responsible for educating potential sponsors on the sponsorship process, and helping CSGs in the development of their settlement plans. RSOs will also provide on-going support to sponsors prior to, during and following the arrival of the refugees, assist in the resolution of issues which may arise between the refugee family and their sponsors. RSOs will also participate in the monitoring, evaluation, and further development of the CSI programme.

The great work done by groups to date

We’re going to befriend, we’re going to welcome you into the community, and we’re going to bump into you in the street because you are part of our world now.

Irish Communities Preparing to Host 20 Syrian Families

How one Irish Community transformed the future for a Syrian family

A Group of Volunteers Raise Funds to Try to Resettle Refugees in Dublin 8

Navan group to sponsor and welcome Syrian refugee family

Kells community sponsors Syrian refugee family in Ireland

Matthews urges community to support the “Road to Roundwood” campaign

Documents relating to Community Sponsorship Ireland include

CSI -  Guidance for Sponsors 

CSI -  A guide to prospective sponsors 

CSI -  Application Form

CSI -  Settlement Plan Template 

CSI - Policy Framework 


If you are interested in finding out how your local community can sponsor a refugee family, please phone 01-642 4600 or email