We know sponsorship works best when the responsibility is shared. As you can see from these pages there is lots to be done and it is much easier if you have a support group around you to help. We would really recommend that you gather a support group of at least 4 people around you to help support you and your guest(s). We think it is essential to help this brilliant undertaking be as successful as it can.

What is a support group?

This is the group of people that will become involved in supporting you and your guests with their resettlement into your community. It might be that they are providing particular support with an aspect of resettlement (e.g. helping access benefits or finding work) or it might be that they can provide a friendly welcome the school gate or the local playgroup. We recommend that you try and find your own support group, asking people if they will commit to help and support you. If you do not have people you can ask then do get in touch with a local organisation providing support to Ukrainians and hosts, contact your local CVS for details of such organisations.

Why is a support group important?

There are a number of reasons why the support group is important for you as a sponsor:

  • The group will bring different skill sets to help support your guest
  • The group shares the load and turns a household response into a community response
  • It gives you a peer support network to help you in being an effective sponsor
  • Enables working together as a team with shared wisdom

It is also really valuable for your guest:

  • To meet a range of friendly local people
  • To have different access points to the local community
  • To begin to build their own social support network
  • To practice English skills with a variety of people

Who should be in the support group?

A few things are worth considering:

  • Skills – who might have the skills to help out with a particular aspect of support
  • Peers – who might be a peer of your guest(s)
  • Diversity – include a range of backgrounds (e.g younger and older)
  • Experience – who might have experience providing such support either in their work or in a voluntary capacity
  • Time – who has the time capacity to be able to help out. Some tasks are quite time specific others involve a longer commitment.

Keeping a safe support group

The following are some basic procedures that we would recommend that you adopt as a support group to keep everyone safe:

  • Do not take children out without their parent
  • Do not initiate physical contact unless in an emergency for safety reasons
  • Do not take pictures or video of family members
  • Do not transport children unless in the company of their parent
  • Do not spend time with children alone. Stay in communal areas with others
  • Where possible do things as pairs of volunteers
  • If you are concerned about the actions of another person in the support group, then raise your concern and pass on the information if you continue to be concerned

Although you would ideally want to, you will probably not be able to run your own DBS Criminal records check for the members of your support group. You might want to:

  • See if they have a recent check from work or volunteering and if they are signed up to the DBS update service
  • Consider how well they are known to you and to others
  • Consider who can informally act as a reference for them

Further ideas and information can be found in the safeguarding section