Seeking safety: funding to support refugees and asylum seekers

Refugee woman hugging friend with flowers in her hand

Seeking safety: funding to support refugees and asylum seekers

Published: 20 June 2024
Benefact Trust has seen a significant rise in applications from charities dedicated to supporting refugees and asylum seekers who have left their homes in search of safety and security.
Every day, all over the world, people are making the most difficult decisions they’ll ever make; to leave their homes and all they’ve known for a safer, better life.
Immigration is top of the political agenda, and news coverage shares regular statistics and numbers, but often the human stories are missing. Not only the reality of what it’s like for those people who are fleeing conflict, poverty and humanitarian crises; but also the challenges they face when they reach safety.
In 2023, there were approximately 365,300 refugees and asylum seekers in the UK*. In most cases, they aren’t allowed to work or claim mainstream welfare benefits and are given £7 a day from the UK Government to cover their basic needs**. This places them well below the poverty line.
If granted asylum, the situation doesn’t always improve. The money stops and they’re faced with a series of challenges - no support to find housing, open a bank account, or to secure income. To add to the mounting challenges, language barriers and social exclusion can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation in an already strange environment.
The picture can seem bleak, but increasingly we’re seeing churches and charities across the UK and Ireland stepping up to welcome refugees and asylum seekers and create safe spaces in their own communities:
Welcome Churches, UK

Welcome Churches is a network of churches committed to supporting refugees. Over the last year, its churches have welcomed over 20,000 refugees and the organisation has grown its network to over 1,394 churches.
A £60,000 Community Impact Grant over the next three years, will help Welcome Churches to expand this model of work and inspire more churches to break down barriers and prioritise refugee integration.
Welcome Churches delivers dedicated training to its churches and the trained volunteers are then able to provide practical support – including English classes, sports activities and community meals – and help families access vital support services such as food banks and healthcare.
Housing Justice, London

According to Housing Justice, a commitment by the current UK government to clear a backlog of asylum cases has led to a huge increase in the number of refugees leaving Home Office accommodation with as little as seven days notice. Night Shelters are inundated with people needing emergency accommodation and rough sleeping numbers have seen a surge.
Housing Justice is on a mission to take action on homelessness and housing so that everyone has access to a home that is secure and affordable. It works with churches to operate night shelters, works with a pool of volunteer hosts to welcome vulnerable people into their homes, provides wraparound support for people experiencing homelessness, and works with churches to release surplus land and redundant buildings to create affordable housing. 
A £52,000 Community Impact Grant will help to develop its Refugee Lodging Project and address the emerging homelessness crisis among refugees and asylum seekers.
The Louise Project, Glasgow

The Govanhill area of Glasgow is the most ethnically diverse area of Scotland and home to some of the poorest 5 to 10% of people in the country.
The Louise Project predominantly supports European Roma migrants, as well as refugee families from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria. 
The anti-poverty charity hasn’t seen this level of poverty in the Roma community for several generations. It’s impacting mental health, education, work opportunities and chaotic life choices. The Louise Project offers a range of support services to build brighter futures for the Roma community. 
A £15,200 Community Impact Grant will fund a new Family Support Worker to enable Roma women to engage in education and improve their aspirations and future opportunities.
Vibe, County Armagh

Connection and community integration plays such an important role for refugees and asylum seekers.
Vibe is developing a three-year project with a range of activities to help refugee families that have settled in Armagh to feel welcome and included.
A £12,500 Community Impact Grant will support the Community Culture Project, which will offer a weekly drop-in with a hot meal and a safe place for advice and to make new friends. Monthly workshops will be developed inline with the need, such as cooking classes, money management and wellbeing workshops. And after school clubs will provide a space for children to do their homework and connect with other young people. Vibe will also provide food boxes and recipe cards for refugee families.
It's inspirational to see the welcome churches and charities are providing, and the work they’re doing to support refugees and asylum seekers practically, spiritually and emotionally. 
Find out more about our Community Impact Grants, which support projects that tackle a range of social issues, here.
Header Image – From Housing Justice, London

* The UN Refugee Agency

** Refugee Council

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