UK Community Foundations announces New Beginnings Fund to support refugees
In response to the ongoing refugee crisis a £525,000 New Beginnings Fund was launched on 12 February to support community groups in the UK welcoming and integrating refugees and asylum seekers into local communities. This new Fund, which will be administered by UK Community Foundations through its network of community foundations, has been contributed to by a number of leading charities including Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Pears Foundation, Rayne Foundation, Lloyds Foundation and Comic Relief. ACF has played a significant role in bringing funders together and has acted as a conduit for this collaboration to come into existence.
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. The New Beginnings Fund will recognise and support local groups working to integrate refugees and asylum seekers into local communities.
The application process will be managed across the four nations of the UK by the following Community Foundations: 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 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.
Further details about the New Beginnings Fund can be found on the UK Community Foundation’s website.