By Rebecca Eddington, DSC Researcher
It is no secret that disadvantaged households and families in our society have been disproportionately affected by the COVID19 outbreak. Refugees and asylum seekers have been particularly hard hit due to isolation (many don’t have access to phones or internet) and from being cut off from the support services they rely on.
While the Home Office extended the 28 day ‘move on period’ at the beginning of lockdown, meaning newly recognised refugees wouldn’t have to move out of their asylum accommodation, this is due to be lifted soon. Before the pandemic, the ‘move on period’ was a source of much discussion and campaigning – research by the Red Cross has shown just how hard it is for refugees to move onto mainstream benefits or employment and find somewhere to live during just 28 days.
As with so many areas where the state fails to adequately provide for people, the voluntary sector steps in to ‘gap-fill’ support to help these refugees at risk of extreme poverty and homelessness. Recent research shows that refugee third sector organisations are spending at least £33.4 million per year alleviating poverty – but still demand for their services can’t be met. Add a pandemic into the mix and it’s going to be harder than ever for refugees to find employment and for charities to provide their assistance.
The health of refugees and asylum seekers is also particularly at risk during the pandemic, as they often have to share rooms with other residents, making it impossible to social distance and/or shield. Adequate cleaning facilities and products are often not provided. While the purchase of hand sanitiser to most people is a minor expense, asylum seekers are expected to live off less than £6 a day! The Sisters not Strangers coalition surveyed asylum-seeking women during the outbreak and reported that three quarters of women went hungry, including mothers who struggled to feed their children. This is just one of the many deeply saddening statistics stated in the report.
In response to Coronavirus the government raised the asylum support allowance by just £1.85 per week. This compares to the £20 uplift in Universal Credit. The Refugee Council, along with more than 270 organisations, have written to the Home Secretary calling her to urgently reconsider this decision and raise the allowance in line with Universal Credit support. With a pittance to live on from the state, many asylum seekers and refugees depend on meals, donated items and small hardship grants from local organisations.
50% of charities are unsure whether they can survive past 12 months so it is vital that charities are able to access funding available to them especially as they are seeing an increase in demand for their services. At DSC we’ve been sending out daily emails and writing a weekly blog with coronavirus funding updates, to help charities out during these trying times. Below we’ve highlighted a few funders that award grants to organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers. All of these funders can also be found on our Funds Online database, along with many more!
Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales
Lloyds Bank Foundation awards funding to small and medium-sized charities for complex social issues, including funding for asylum seekers and refugees. On 3 August they launched a £7.4 million COVID fund. They aim to offer 140 charities a £50,000 unrestricted two-year grant alongside a Development Partner, to help charities navigate the future. The application deadline is 5pm on 11 September 2020. There’s also Q&A webinar with the grants team on Tuesday 11 August between 2pm – 3pm.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s mission is to ‘help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives’. One of their six strategic priorities is ‘migration and integration’, with a focus on young people. The foundation created a £20 million Emergency Fund in response to the pandemic alongside the allocated £30 million for programmes in 2020/21. The foundation expects to open to new applications again from the autumn, running a mix of recovery grants and programme grants to allow organisation to adjust their plans.
The AB Charitable Trust
While the AB Charitable Trust haven’t launched a separate fund, migrants and refugees are one of the trust’s priority areas. In 2019/20 they awarded £1.14 million in grants to the cause and have pledged more money this financial year. Grants range in size, with most between £10,000 and £20,000, for charities with an annual income of between £150k and £1.5 million. The next application deadline is 31 October 2020.
The Allen Lane Foundation
The Allen Lane Foundation supports organisations that work with asylum seekers and refugees regardless of their origin, as opposed to working with single nationalities only. Their website says their grants are ‘relatively modest’ with the average grant being around £5,000 to £6,000 to support core costs enabling organisations to have ‘flexibility, security and longevity’.
Hilden Charitable Fund
The Hilden Charitable Fund awards funding to ‘unpopular’ causes that are not likely to receive much funding from elsewhere. They often award funding for core costs, knowing that charities can find this difficult. In 2019, they supported 23 charities working with asylum seekers and refugees, awarding £147,500 in grants.
The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust
Each year the Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust focuses on supporting projects in particular areas. In 2021 two of their grant rounds are focusing on refugees and asylum seekers. Grants of £1,000 or £5,000 are available, dependent on income. Maybe something to keep an eye on?
The pandemic has disrupted all of our lives, but especially during times like this it’s important to remember the most vulnerable in our society and the additional burden that will fall on them. Thankfully some established and enlightened grant-makers are there to help.