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Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Barrow Cadbury Trust have respectively made a £200,000 and £100,000 six year, interest free loan, to Refuaid for its Equal Access Loan Programme. Refuaid is an organisation supporting access to language tuition, education, finance, and meaningful employment. The Equal Access Loan Programme provides interest-free loans to people with UK refugee status who are unable to pay for the cost of completing the licensing or training needed to work in their professional field in the UK. The £300,000 investment made by the two Foundations was co-designed with RefuAid to enable greater impact: for the first 4 years of the investment term, loan repayments can be redrawn and recycled to be re-lent to new borrowers. The maximum Equal Access Loan amount is £10,000.

Loans may be used for:

• Short-term (2 years or less) training
• Exam fees with a professional governing association
• Travel expenses to and from an exam
• Qualification assessments
• Professional association fees
• Books and course materials
• Living allowance during study time
• Other related expenses

In addition to their £200,000 investment, Esmée Fairbairn have also provided a grant of £55,000 to RefuAid to enable the hiring of a Placement Lead to launch RefuAid’s new recruitment arm. The recruitment arm will mean that RefuAid can secure work placements and build partnerships with a range of employment partners to match their clients with and improve their outcomes. In parallel, this recruitment activity will generate earned income for the organisation which will ultimately increase RefuAid’s sustainability and long term impact.

Ben Smith, Head of Social Investment at Esmée Fairbairn Foundation said of the deal “we are incredibly proud to be working with RefuAid. The opportunities the organisation is affording people through the Equal Access Loan Programme is life transforming and RefuAid is a great example of an investment which aligns with our new strategy and for which a tools in the box approach (social investment and grant) is valuable. Anna and Tamsyn are inspirational individuals who are doing outstanding work. We are pleased to have invested alongside Barrow Cadbury Trust, and this investment is, in turn, built on the learning created by Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Comic Relief’s investment in 2018.”

Kumar Ghosh, Social Investment Manager at Barrow Cadbury Trust commented “we are delighted to be supporting Refuaid’s Equal Access Loan Programme, alongside Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, enabling refugees to use their skills to succeed in the UK. This investment ties in with one of the key strands of the Trust’s work – migration.“

Anna Jones, Co-Founder of RefuAid added “we’re thrilled to have received the £300,000 loan from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Barrow Cadbury Trust to support the Equal Access Loan programme. The loan will support people who’ve been forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution back into the careers they know and love with many of the individual loans being made to doctors who, as a result, are able to work within the NHS.”