Putting Your Group On An Official Footing

We saw in Building A Group in the Planning section that forming a close-knit group, with shared motivations and goals, is an essential first step in community sponsorship. As part of that process you should have worked out:

  • How the group will operate
  • Who will take responsibility for what
  • Who you need to recruit into the group because they have skills the group doesn’t possess
  • Which other organisations you might need to partner with
  • Are you planning to go it alone or might you work with an organisation that is already a Lead Sponsor or can act as one?  

Resettling a family is a major responsibility so it is right that the Home Office requires that you can show you are a serious enterprise, you have the appropriate structure, the right people in the right roles and the links you need in place with external partners.

It is also required that you or one of your partners has appropriate experience of working with vulnerable adults and children. This doesn’t have to be with resettled refugees. It could be with other migrants or with the homeless, for instance.

The Home Office also requires one other thing: you must be a registered charity. That can seem like an obstacle to some groups, but it is not an insurmountable one. First, you can get help from others (including existing sponsoring groups) on registering as a charity. Second, you can link to a body in your area – perhaps a church or refugee organisation - that already has charitable status and which will act as an umbrella charity while your sponsorship lasts. Third, you can pursue sponsorship via a Lead Sponsor, like Sponsor Refugees.

To meet the requirements of the Home Office your group or its partners will need 

  • Charity or Community Interest Company (CIC) status
  • A Lead Sponsor from within your group or someone willing to take that role in another group. The Lead Sponsor has ultimate responsibility for the sponsoring arrangement.  
  • Identified roles for all those providing support 
  • Experience supporting vulnerable people 

If you want to explore your options for putting your group on an official footing, please do contact SPONSOR REFUGEES