Community Sponsorship Evaluation (UK)

Launched in 2016, Community Sponsorship is a British scheme wherein communities raise funds and establish a core group to support a refugee family to resettle in the UK.  

The scheme is aimed specifically at vulnerable refugees, and the idea is simple; welcoming a refugee family, recruiting volunteers to support them through – for example, learning English, registering with a GP and negotiating benefit applications and enabling the adults back into work. The community find and prepare a home for the family and, above all, provides a welcome and friendship to the family.  The scheme is part of the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme (VPRS) that is intended to settle 20,000 vulnerable refugees in the UK by 2020 and the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) which aims to resettle 3,000 vulnerable children and their families by March 2020.

In 2017 the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) was initially invited by Citizens UK and the Methodist Church to undertake a formative evaluation of the Community Sponsorship Scheme with a view to ensuring their efforts supporting a refugee family were as effective as possible. Following receipt of internal University and ESRC funding and later through connecting with RESET, the research team expanded their efforts from two to twenty-two groups consisting of over 100 refugees. In some cases, we have followed Community Sponsorship groups for over two years to learn from their experiences of establishment, application to the Home Office, receiving a family and supporting refugee integration.

Community Sponsorship Photo Competition

We are pleased to announce our University of Birmingham photo competition for all volunteers and refugees involved in Community Sponsorship (UK).  The winning photographer for each of the volunteer and refugee competitions will receive a prize of £100 voucher.  We will also be selecting more photos for inclusion in an exhibition.

The deadline for entries is Friday 28th February 2020.

Find out more about the competition and how to apply (English language version)
Find out more about the competition and how to apply (Arabic language version)

Aims of the research

The objectives of the evaluation include:

  • Considering the motivations, aspirations, and experiences of CS organisers and volunteers
  • Exploring group establishment and application processes
  • Identifying the gains enjoyed and practical challenges faced by CS groups
  • Examining the provision of support once sponsored families are in residence and the extent to which support needs are met
  • Exploring the experiences of refugees and the ways in which the CS support shapes their resettlement
  • Documenting good practice
  • Impacting upon the shape of the CS providing knowledge for practitioners, sponsors, policymakers and CS groups 

Research Team


Professor Jenny Phillimore

Professor Jenny Phillimore

Professor of Migration and Superdiversity

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology

Jenny Phillimore is Professor of Migration and Superdiversity. She is a world leading scholar in refugee integration, superdiversity and access to social welfare with a particular focus on public health, as well as publishing and development of the community research methodology.

Over the past decade she has managed teams of researchers focusing on access to health, education, employment, ...

Dr Marisol Reyes

Dr Marisol Reyes

Research Fellow
Research Leader Community Sponsorship Programme

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology

Marisol Reyes has been lecturer in international relations and Latin American studies in a number of universities in the United States, England and Mexico. Before joining academia she worked for six years in the Mexican government as a researcher of the international affairs department of the Federal Electoral Institute.

Her research has focussed on Latin American studies, citizen’s civic ...


University of Birmingham College of Social Sciences

ESRC Impact Acceleration Fund

Help with understanding integration

The UK has agreed to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over the course of the current parliament. To support this complex process, IRiS has developed a Toolkit and range of resources to inform and assist local authorities and practitioners.

Click here to visit the Syrian Resettlement website

Community Sponsorship Poster