Our programs - FAQ
Check out frequently asked questions about CRSA’s programs, training and how community-led support for refugees works in Australia below. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Group Mentorship Program FAQs
What is a mentor group?
A mentor group is a group of at least five individuals who live in the same geographic community and are in a community keen to provide practical support to refugees. The groups complete an internationally-developed training course and undergo basic application and screening process in preparation for providing this support. Mentor groups are made up of friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues – basically any group of Australians who feel they have the capacity to give time each week to helping a refugee newcomer.
Group members should come from more than one family or householdGCRSA recommends that groups should consist of a few different households to ensure that the group can keep supporting their refugee mentee household should any one mentor move away or become unable to continue their mentoring worksupport can continue should any unforeseen issues arise. Having a varied group of mentors will also provide your refugee mentee(s)assist with creating with the benefits that come with being able to access a broader network of support, knowledge, experience and expertise.
Your group might be attached to a local organisation such as a school, club or church (which we refer to as ‘Supporting Community Organisations’), or you might just be an informal group of friends or acquaintances.
Who can be part of a mentor group?
Any Australian citizen or permanent resident can join or form a mentor group if they feel they have the time and capacity to provide meaningful support to a refugee newcomer on a week-to-week basis. Before a mentor group can be matched with a refugee mentee/family each mentor group member will need to submit current police checks and Working with Children Checks to demonstrate that they are of good character.
What is the role of a mentor group?
Mentor Groups provide holistic and ‘whole of family’ settlement support to refugee households. Groups work with mentees to identify areas where support is needed, supplementing the support that is provided by any government-funded settlement services with the added elements of the extra time, social capital and networks, deep local knowledge and friendship that can be offered by a group of local members of the community. Mentor groups leverage their own local knowledge, networks, expertise and experience to help refugees achieve their personal goals and successfully integrate into their new community.
The following list outlines some of the things mentor groups provide support for:
- Finding suitable employment
- Securing suitable housing in a regional area with no migrant settlement services
- Enrolling and better participation in education
- Practicing English
- Learning to drive
- Understanding how to have overseas qualifications recognised
- Establishing a small business
- Accessing previously unknown local services
- Making new friends
Who are the refugees that we would be supporting and how are we connected with them?
Mentees are refugee individuals or families who have arrived in Australia in recent years, who would benefit from additional support with their settlement. They are people who hold a refugee or humanitarian visa and can include people with temporary humanitarian visas like a TPV or SHEV. Mentees can be already located in the same area as mentor groups, or be looking to relocate to the community where a mentor group is based.
- Mentees participating in the 2020/21 program were mostly looking for support with learning English, career development, and their studies and making social connections
- Households can be made up of couples, siblings, family units and single adults
- Mentees age range varies with family members aged from 0 to from newborn – 60+
If your group undertakes training and is keen to then be matched with a refugee mentee/family, CRSA will work with a variety of front-line organisations and networks to try to find a refugee mentee/family in need of extra support who is a good match for your group. This can be easy or challenging depending on a range of factors. For instance, if you live in an area where there are very few new migrant communities, it might be challenging to find a suitable match for your group. As a rule of thumb, we look for someone who is already living within a 20 minute drive of your group or who is keen to move to your area.
We ask that you be prepared to be active participants in this matching process as you, as locals, will often have greater access to local knowledge and information than we do! In some cases, matching your group with a refugee involves trying to find a refugee who is already contemplating a move to your area and then asking you to work with them to understand whether that move is right for them and find suitable housing and employment before they make the commitment of moving to your area.
Do we need to raise any money to be a mentor group?
Mentor groups are expected to raise a small amount of money to provide the group with a budget for your work with its mentee(s). CRSA suggests that groups raise at least $1,000 for a single mentee, plus an additional $300 per additional family member (ie for a family of four, $1,000, plus $300, plus $300, plus $300 = $1,900), with a maximum fundraising target of $3,000 for each household.
The mentor group should consider opening a separate bank account to hold these funds or put in place other mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability within the group in relation to the collection and use of these funds. It will be up to the mentor group members to decide how to raise, hold and use these funds, taking into account your understanding of the needs of the mentee(s). The mentor group will hold this money and decide how best to spend it. If the mentor group wishes for donations that it receives to be tax deductible, your mentor group will need to raise funds through an organisation that can issue deductible gift receipts for donations received for the purposes of being involved in the group mentorship program.
Do we need to be incorporated or partner with an organisation?
Groups are not required to be incorporated, however, groups may find it easier to either incorporate or partner with an incorporated organisation so that they can more easily:
- Open a bank account in the name of the group
- Acquire or access public liability or other necessary insurance coverage for your local activites
- Obtain Working with Children Checks
How long do mentor groups have to provide support for?
Mentor groups are expected to commit to provide their refugee mentee/family with a minimum of 6 months practical support, which can be increased to 12 months if mutually desired.
I’m an individual looking to get involved. How can I join a group?
I’m part of an organisation wanting to support local groups. What would that involve and what do we need to do?
The first step is to fill out our Expression of Interest form. Organisations wishing to support local mentor groups can choose this as an area of interest within the form, once submitted, our team will be in touch to discuss this role in more detail.
As an overview, a supporting community organisation can expect to support groups with the following:
- Recruitment, screening and application process
- Assist in setting standards of conduct for groups
- Provision of insurance and accounting needs for groups
- Ongoing support (first point of contact, conflict resolution)
- Regular ‘check ins’ with mentors and mentees
- Evaluation support as required
If your organisation has a volunteer base you can share this program with them as a new way of engaging in this program as part of the work that your organisation does.
Sponsorship program FAQs
What is community sponsorship?
How does community sponsorship work in Australia
At present, we are waiting for news from the Australian government as to whether it will introduce a new community sponsorship program in Australia. As a result, we are unable to provide detailed advice on the details of what sponsorship will entail. However, we would expect that sponsor groups would:
- Need to include at least five adult individuals who are Australian citizens or permanent residents
- Need to be incorporated or partner with an existing community organisation
- Need to be willing and able to raise a significant amount of funds to sponsor refugees from overseas (anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 depending on the nature of the program and the size of the refugee family involved)
- Be able to provide 12 months of practical settlement support on a par with that currently provided by government-funded settlement services
See our Community Sponsorship Explainer for more details of the model that we have recommended for Australia.
Is CRSA a charity?
I’d like to make a donation to CRSA. How do I do this?
CRSA is a registered Australian charity with tax deductible gift recipient (DGR) status. We are currently setting up an automated system to collect donations for those wishing to support our work.
In the meantime, if you would like to donate to our work please email us on email@example.com and we can provide you with our bank details and a tax deductible gift receipt.