New Beginnings Fund opens for local groups working with refugees and asylum seekers

In response to the ongoing refugee crisis a new £525,000 fund has been launched to support community groups in the UK welcoming and integrating refugees and asylum seekers into local communities.  Although the UK is receiving fewer new arrivals than many other countries, the year ending June 2015 saw a 10% increase in asylum applications and a dramatic 46% increase in children separated from their families.[1]

The public wave of sympathy in response to the refugee crisis has led to an increase in the number of people looking to volunteer.   One of the aims of this fund is to help groups build their capacity to process these offers of assistance. This is especially important at a time where demand is rising and groups are working with larger numbers of people who have been through traumatic experiences.

The New Beginnings Fund has been contributed to by a number of leading charities including Paul Hamlyn FoundationBarrow Cadbury TrustPears FoundationThe Rayne FoundationLloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and Comic Relief.

The fund will be disbursed through UK Community Foundations’ (UKCF) network of local community foundations.  The application process will be managed across the four nations of the UK by: Community Foundations for Lancashire & Merseyside, Community Foundation in Wales, Community Foundation Northern Ireland, Foundation Scotland, Heart of England Community Foundation, Kent Community Foundation and London Community Foundation.

The fund is aimed at small, local groups.  Those groups with an income of less than £250,000 will be prioritised. Applications for up to £10,000 will be considered but, in exceptional circumstances, grants for up to £20,000 will be awarded for collaborative bids involving multiple local partners.

The funding can be used for new or existing activities that involve local communities in welcoming and supporting new arrivals. A key view of this fund is that early integration helps dispel tensions and prevent misconceptions within local communities. Applications from projects which emphasise the value of integration and work with communities to become stronger and more connected, encouraging refugees and asylum seekers to make an active contribution and engage positively, will be welcome.

If other organisations are interested in contributing to the New Beginnings fund, they should contact UKCF for further information.

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