Community Sponsorship

What is Community Sponsorship:

Community Sponsorship enables your church and local community to directly support a newly resettled refugee family from the moment they arrive in the UK.

This ground-breaking new development for refugee resettlement was announced by the UK Government in Summer 2016. It is modelled on the hugely successful Canadian Private Sponsorship scheme which has resettled nearly 280,000 refugees since its introduction in 1979.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby became the UK’s first community sponsor when he welcomed a refugee family into Lambeth Palace in 2016.


The Catholic Diocese of Salford became the UK’s second community sponsor when they resettled a Syrian family in November 2016. This was followed by the Salvation Army resettling a third family in South London in March 2017. One of the first local groups that we partnered with, Worthing 4 Refugees, received their first sponsored Syrian family in May. Hillsong’s Refugee Response, another group whom we have been working closely with, welcomed their first family in October 2017. In November 2017, ABIDE successfully resettled a family in Ottery St Mary. To date, more than 50 refugees have been resettled under this programme by over a dozen community sponsors in the UK.

How does Community Sponsorship work:

Sponsoring a refugee family requires the church community to be committed in prayer and in practice. A community sponsor’s responsibilities include:

  • Finding affordable housing
  • Providing financial support, especially in the initial period of resettlement
  • Seeking Local Authority consent
  • Meeting the family at the airport
  • Arranging English language tuition
  • Support towards employment and self-sufficiency

Community sponsors are formally responsible for the integration and progress of resettled family for one year, and their housing for two. Each resettled family will be different but they will all have suffered the loss of their home. Many will have lost loved ones, friends and family, and witnessed the horrors of war. Some may have specific medical needs or disabilities.

In July 2017, Community Sponsorship was expanded to include refugees of all nationalities who have fled the conflict in Syria to neighbouring countries.


Why the Church should sponsor refugee families:

We believe that Christians of all backgrounds and denominations share a common vision for God’s love, and therefore have a responsibility to aid refugees in any way we can. God has commanded Christians over and over again to love thy neighbour, to empower the powerless, to feed the hungry. Deuteronomy 10:19 says, “and you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt,” Matthew 25:35 says “for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,” and just recently Pope Francis said “hearts must not be closed to refugees.” By committing to provide financial, social, and emotional support, community sponsorship gives Christians the opportunity to be Good Samaritans to our neighbours in need.

Community Sponsorship presents an enormous opportunity for Christians to be Good Samaritans to refugees.

How we can help you to become a Community Sponsor:

While sponsoring a refugee family can be hugely rewarding experience, the process to becoming a sponsor can seem daunting at first. Our team is dedicated to helping current and potential sponsors by:

  • Informing and assisting sponsors to complete their community sponsorship application.
  • Training and resourcing sponsors to be fully equipped to welcome refugees both culturally and practically.
  • Helping sponsors to engage with their local community through hosting events, exhibitions, and training days with specialist agencies and charities.
  • Connect sponsors in the movement to encourage mutual communication, sharing of sponsorship experiences, and logistical support.