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National Lottery Community Fund and Barrow Cadbury Trust award COVID 19 emergency response funding to almost 200 migrant and refugee sector organisations

Responding to a fast deteriorating situation in the migration and refugee sector, in July Barrow Cadbury Trust partnered with The National Lottery Community Fund to distribute COVID-19 emergency response funding in England.  Five million pounds of funding were distributed to 198 specialist small and medium voluntary sector groups across England with amounts varying from £xx to a maximum of £50k. The emphasis was very much on emergency support, with grants awarded in October needing to be spent by 19 April. It can only be spent on needs arising directly or indirectly from the pandemic, not on wider issues such as support with immigration claims, nor on campaigning or political activity.

The Barrow Cadbury COVID-19 Support Fund is one of nine expert partnerships, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, to ensure almost £59m of National Lottery funding reaches communities most vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19.

The 198 organisations which have been awarded funding are working tirelessly in straitened circumstances to relieve hardship caused by the pandemic among refugees and migrants, many of whom were finding it difficult to access services.

Initially open for a three week period, the application ‘window’ was extended as was the eligibility criteria to ensure it reached those organisations that provided services and support targeted at refugees and migrants which they were seeking to maintain.   Our funding panel was made up of trustees and senior staff from the Trust alongside people with lived experience and knowledge of the migration sector.

Out of almost 200 charities it is impossible to give a comprehensive overview of such varied work covering a range of ages, mainstream and specialist organisations, regions, and those led by refugees and migrants themselves.  However, here is a snapshot of just four which might give a flavour of the cross-section and extent of the amazing work being undertaken.

Fairbeats Music is a charity based in Lewisham operating across a number of South London boroughs.  It believes that every child, including the most marginalised, has a right to a creative life, so provides music-based activities, working with about 170 per year. Activities include music-making, instrument lessons, song-writing, ensemble playing and performances. Its £13,200 grant will enable it to increase its capacity to respond during this pandemic, including additional hours for existing staff and freelancers, and new equipment to ensure it can continue to provide its activities. It will also allow Fairbeats to undertake recorded video activities, provide care packs and paper resources for children with no internet access and live on-line music sessions for those who do, undertake a special song-writing project in a distanced way, and continue to promote the importance of music-making.

Europia is a registered charity and community development organisation established in 2008. It is the only organisation supporting and empowering European nationals who have come to live and work in Greater Manchester. The charity aims to help people feel at home, connect them with their local communities and give them the knowledge and skills they need to make their hopes and dreams a reality. Europia provides a legal surgery, welfare advice, EUSS application assistance and emergency funds for the most vulnerable, as well as facilitating community development groups including an art collective, a Roma Project and a Women’s Group.  The £25k they were awarded will enable them to work with community leaders and community navigators to develop appropriate public health information about COVID-19 in Polish, Roma, Romanian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Slovak, Czech and Hungarian. It will collaborate with community networks, consulates, High Commissions, cultural bodies, supplementary schools and East European businesses to disseminate the resources.

Love146 aims to end the trafficking of children globally. It runs a Survivor Care Programme for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who have been trafficked to the UK or are potential trafficking victims. This involves providing specialist supported accommodation, wrap-around support, a rapid response placement service and outreach support. The organisation rents shared houses in London and Hampshire for young people, and supports individual care leavers who it has helped into independent accommodation, or who have been referred to it for specific support by a local authority. Love146 also runs an Outreach Programme, providing training for individuals involved in safeguarding.  It operates mainly in London and the South East, and supports approximately 40 beneficiaries each year. £8940 will enable Love146 to continue to respond to the needs of young people at risk of going missing, and/or of being trafficked.

Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan Trust (ZGT) is a Leicester charity established in 2009, working to alleviate poverty and reduce all forms of abuse. It has received several local awards for its work. Originally set up to support disadvantaged women from any background, it has found itself increasingly supporting migrant and refugee women fleeing domestic abuse. It is one of the few providers of support for women affected by domestic abuse and FGM in Leicester.  £40k will enable ZGT to provide emotional support, help with reporting abuse to the police and obtaining injunctions, referrals to housing providers, and assistance with housing benefit and welfare claims, access to legal aid to enable women with NRPF to pursue status independent of their abuser, money and debt advice, provision of emergency supplies including food and period products for women and girls fleeing abuse.

Zinthiya Ganespanchan, CEO of the Trust said: “We are delighted to have received support from this Fund to support migrant women, including refugee and asylum seekers, not only to provide advice and guidance but also to provide practical support such as emergency food and clothing. Through this funding we have already been able to transform the  lives of many women.”