12 February 2016
UK Community Foundations (UKCF) announced today the creation of a £525,000 New Beginnings Fund to support refugees joining UK communities.
There has been a dramatic increase in refugees and asylum seekers moving across Europe with an estimated one million arriving by sea and land in 2015 and a further 69,000 arriving in Greece since the start of 2016. In the UK we have seen lower numbers of refugees and displaced people seeking asylum than in mainland Europe.
However, the number of new arrivals is steadily increasing. At the end of the year June 2015 there was a 10% increase in UK new asylum applications and a 46% increase in the number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum during the same period. In addition, the UK Government is committed to resettling 20,000 Syrian refuges over the next five years.This movement of people places strain on the community based network of UK support groups.
Displaced peoples struggle to survive and need the help the community based refugee organisations across the UK can offer. However, many of these organisations are very small and completely reliant on their volunteers. The New Beginnings Fund will recognise and support local groups working to integrate refugees and asylum seekers into local communities. A key view of this Fund is that early integration helps dispel tensions and prevent misconceptions on both sides.
UK Community Foundations Chief Executive, Fabian French said: “I am delighted that the funders, Comic Relief, Barrow Cadbury, Paul Hamlyn, Pears, Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Rayne Foundation have chosen to work with UK Community Foundations. Our network is well placed to ensure the money from the New Beginnings Fund is used to strengthen the capacity of organisations that assist refugees and asylum seekers. These organisations play a vital role in reducing the stress and isolation vulnerable adults and children often experience when they take up new lives in the UK.”
The New Beginnings Fund will be administrated by the community foundations in seven areas across the UK with high levels of refugees and asylum seekers. The Fund will welcome proposals from small to medium size organisations that offer guidance, counselling, community integration and welcoming activities to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers and which can demonstrate there has been an increase in the demand for their services.
The fund will not be supporting activities promoting party political activity; major capital costs; individual sponsorship; activities generating private profit; statutory services; faith groups are welcome to apply but activities which evangelise or proselytise religious beliefs will not be eligible.
For further details of the New Beginnings Fund or to apply for a grant please go to the appropriate community foundations’ website: