Community Sponsorship

Community Sponsorship is a form of resettlement that empowers ordinary people to come together and welcome a refugee family or individual to Ireland, and directly support them to rebuild their lives in safety. It’s a practical and powerful way to respond to the global refugee crisis, that enriches communities and changes lives.

Are you interested in getting involved?

Sponsorship starts when a group of five or more people form a community sponsorship group, and then submit an application form to the Irish Refugee Protection Programme to welcome a refugee family or individual.

Community sponsorship primarily focuses on resettling Syrian refugees referred to the Irish Government by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Since 2022, sponsorship groups have also supported Afghan refugees who arrived on humanitarian visas allocated by the Irish Government.

Each group supports a family or individual from the moment of arrival up to a period of 18 months. Sponsorship groups help source accommodation and also fundraise to help support the family or individual to settle into the community.

Paul sitting in garden | The Open Community - Community Sponsorship

“I wrote up a list of about ten people I knew in the community. I told them, this is the idea I had and would you be interested in doing it? They all said yes, absolutely. The thing is, like most people, we had no agenda. We just wanted to help people.”

- Paul

A fully supported programme

From the very beginning, new community sponsorship groups are matched with a Regional Support Organisation that assists with every step of the sponsorship journey. A full step-by-step training course is also provided through The Open Community’s interactive learning centre and a range of resources are available on an online support bank.  Groups also have access to a national peer support network and regular events to meet other sponsors and groups.

There are four stages on the Community Sponsorship Journey and at each stage there is a wealth of support and resources to help you:

1. Getting Started

Work together with a Regional Support Organisation to find like-minded people and form a sponsorship group.

2. Planning for arrival

Supported by step-by-step guidance, prepare to welcome a refugee family or individual to your community.

3. Welcoming

Welcome and support a refugee family to your community.

4. Ending Sponsorship

Planning for the end of the sponsorship commitment after the 18-month period.

Could you talk to five or more people you know and start a sponsorship group?

To find out how to get started

Sponsorship is life changing. For refugees arriving in Ireland, sponsorship provides a ready-made network of support that helps them to get settled in quicker and rebuild their lives. Time and time again, at a local level, we see communities strengthened and empowered through supporting refugees, and sponsors often say it is the most meaningful thing they have ever done.

Watch our short explainer video below to see how it all works:
Play Video about Community Sponsorship Explainer Video Cover
The video below tells the story of the first family to be welcomed to Ireland by a community sponsorship group:
Play Video

You can explore more inspiring stories of welcome by following the link:

The Open Community CLG is the national support organisation for Ireland’s Community Sponsorship Programme for Refugees. Registered Company No. 739429

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