Skip to main content

Refugee and asylum seeker community groups awarded funding in first round of grants from New Beginnings Fund

A fund launched in April to support community groups in the UK welcoming and integrating refugees and asylum seekers into local communities has awarded its first grants.  The New Beginnings Fund was set up to support the capacity of small community groups to respond to the surge in public support on refugee issues in light of the refugee crisis which began in 2015 and the recent marked increase in UK asylum applications and dramatic rise in children separated from their families.  It welcomes input and contributions from trusts, foundations and other interested organisations. Contact UK Community Foundations if you would like to know more.


Administered through UK Community Foundations, money from the New Beginnings Fund will be used to strengthen the capacity of organisations which already do valuable work with refugees and the wider community offering advice and guidance services, counselling and support to integrate into communities.


More than £2 million in grant applications were received by community foundations since April, highlighting the enormous need for such funding. £506,000 in grants to 45 organisations across the UK was awarded by a national panel.  Many of these local groups are very small and reliant on volunteers.  These grants will provide vital funds to carry out their work.


One of those groups awarded funding was the Oasis Cardiff Partnership, a centre for asylum seekers and refugees. It provides refugees and asylum seekers with a welcoming  space and runs projects to help them to integrate and live in Cardiff. English classes, a job club, computer classes, gardening and cookery are all on offer as are workshops on citizenship and cultural norms in Wales and the rest of the UK.


Another successful group is MOOL (Massive Outpouring of Love) in Dumfries and Galloway, a new organisation that was established in response to the growing refugee crisis to train local volunteers as ‘befrienders’ for newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers. Sixteen befrienders will support these families and other displaced people to integrate into the community and engage with health and social services, making them aware of local services, how to access them and reducing the anxiety and stress of individuals.  Another 14 volunteers help to arrange aid collections and are helping in the preparation of the homes for the resettled families.


Fabian French, Chief Executive of UK Community Foundations said ”we are proud to work with our partners on such an significant project. We know how important early integration and support is for refugees and for the wider community. Our network of Community Foundations was inundated with bids for these grants which shows just how important and necessary this programme is”.


Following the success of round one, Children in Need and Oak Foundation have contributed  £450k in additional funds for a second tranche to the New Beginnings Fund which will be launched this summer.  UK Community Foundations welcome input from  any other organisation that would be interested in contributing to this important fund.


UK Community Foundations (UKCF) is administering the programme with funding from Comic Relief, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Pears Foundation, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, The Rayne Foundation and City of London Corporation.  UKCF worked with seven of its member community foundations to implement the programme in areas of most pressing need.  The participating foundations are:

  • Community Foundation Northern Ireland
  • Foundation Scotland
  • Community Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside
  • Heart of England Community Foundation
  • London Community Foundation
  • Kent Community Foundation
  • Community Foundation for Wales

Contact UK Community Foundations if you would like to know more.