Manchester Refugee Support Network

Manchester Refugee Support Network (MRSN) is a registered charity which has been running for 23 years. Its core purpose is to “help build strong and independent refugee community organisations to bring about a positive and lasting change in the lives of refugees and those seeking sanctuary, and help refugees experience a happy and successful integration into their new home country”. It is a membership organisation, supporting and working with more than 40 local refugee community organisations. MRSN frequently organises events and projects aimed at promoting and celebrating refugee cultures, and improving the mental and physical wellbeing of refugees themselves.

The charity also offers an advice service, with drop-in advice sessions on three days each week, and by appointment on the other two days. It supports around 550 clients a year. The advice worker and volunteers provide one-to-one holistic support, often in partnership with a range of organisations, to help clients navigate complex and bureaucratic systems, and to get the help they need.

The Foundation has offered funding of £9,935 towards the salary of the advice worker two days per week so that the advice provision can continue. Outcomes of the charity overall are that members will have increased confidence and employment options through building up their skills and learning; that they will be better informed through advice provision; and that generally, relations with local communities will be improved.

www.mrsn.org.uk

Swansea Trauma Support

Swansea Trauma Support is a relatively new social enterprise, which aims to provide practical and emotional support to women who are affected by various forms of trauma.  This includes harmful practices such as FGM, forced marriage and sexual violence and abuse.  It also aims to support women (often asylum seekers) who are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and various mental health issues particularly around pregnancy and after birth.

The Foundation has offered a grant of £500 to Swansea Trauma Support.  Funding will help cover transport costs to enable the attendance of women at a weekly peer support group.  The group offers a safe space for women to get together with others and support one another in an understanding and therapeutic environment.  The women do activities such as crafts, card-making, sewing etc, and the group offers a chance to improve English-language skills.  The group’s facilitator also helps advocate for the women, supporting them to make phone calls, write letters etc to the Home Office, doctors etc.  The grant was made in October 2017.

www.swanseatraumasupport.org.uk

 

Morton Hall Detainee Visitors Group

This Group operates as a network of trained volunteer visitors who offer emotional and practical support to detainees who are held at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre.  The Centre is located in a remote part of Lincolnshire and can hold up to 392 male detainees.  Many of those who are held are asylum seekers waiting to find out if they will be allowed to stay in the UK or returned to their country of origin.  The Visitors Group make regular visits to the Centre, and last year supported 30 individuals with 88 visits.

In October 2017, the Foundation agreed a grant of £5,000 towards increasing the capacity of the Visitors Group.  The Group had found that it did not have enough trained volunteers to support the increasing numbers of detainees asking for visits.  Funding will contribute towards employing a part-time worker who will recruit and train more volunteer visitors, effectively doubling the numbers of volunteers who are involved.  This will enable the charity to support more people detained at the Centre and also raise its profile in the area and gain additional local support.

www.mortonhallvisitors.org.uk

West Wiltshire Multi Faith Forum

The West Wiltshire Multi Faith Forum has three main aims – empowerment, engagement, and education – to allow people of different faiths or no faith to learn about each other and discuss issues which will help to remove perceived misunderstandings and inbuilt prejudices.  It holds a variety of activities and events, provides training, runs groups and gatherings and community projects.

In June 2017, the Allen Lane Foundation awarded funding over a two year period of £2,500 pa to the Forum.  The grant is towards costs of English classes which benefit migrants and refugees in around the Trowbridge area.  The provision of English classes aim to reduce isolation and stigma for individuals, and to improve community cohesion.

City of Sanctuary Bradford

 

This charity operates as a member of the national network of City of Sanctuary organisations across the UK, aiming to “make the city a place of welcome and belonging for all those seeing sanctuary”.  Set up initially nine years ago, the project encourages and enables sanctuary seekers to participate in local day-to-day like, and works with a range of organisations, groups and initiatives in and around Bradford to help them be more supportive, accessible and useful to sanctuary seekers.

The Foundation has made a grant of £7,000, which is contributing towards the costs of a new part-time paid post of project coordinator.  With only one other part-time worker, specifically funded on the ‘Sanctuary in Schools’ project, this new role will enable the charity to grow.  The aim is to better support and increase the network of groups; help more sanctuary seekers; to initiate more projects; and increase the awareness locally of refugee and asylum issues.

www.bradford.cityofsanctuary.org

 

 

Music in Detention

Music in Detention works to help immigration detainees cope with the ordeal of detention in Immigration Removal Centres, and improve their emotional wellbeing. It works regularly in four of the UK’s ten Centres. It also aims to raise awareness of Centres within the local communities, and builds supportive relationships between them and the detainees. The charity runs participatory music workshops aimed at building a new sense of hope to detainees, helping to relieve the psychological pressure they face every day, and make lasting improvements to their wellbeing. Around 2,000 detainees benefit each year.

In October 2016, the Foundation has awarded a grant totalling £10,000, to be split over a three-year period. This will contribute towards a new project delivering workshops in and around Morton Hall – a removal centre run by the Prison Service. Morton Hall is in Lincolnshire and has 392 rooms for adult males. The intention is to run 24 workshops in the centre each year, plus a further six in the local community.

The photograph used is of a painting by a former detainee who had participated in workshops at Haslar Immigration Removal Centre.

www.musicindetention.org.uk

Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum

This charity works as an umbrella body for Cambridge and district, and aims to provide quality services for individuals and groups, and to bring about racial harmony between diverse communities, regardless of race, nationality or ethnic group.  It supports a network of member organisations, offering resources, advice and advocacy, and helps establish new projects where it sees a particular need.

In October 2016, Allen Lane awarded £5,000 to fund a specific weekly drop-in for asylum seekers and refugees.  The drop-in will offer a dedicated service, helping people to access legal help, asylum support and accommodation, and also with healthcare, education and social support needs.  A team of volunteers will be supported by a part-time worker to run the drop-in service.

www.cecf.co.uk

 

Byker Community Centre

This charity offers a multitude of activities and services for people living in the Byker area of Newcastle.  It works with and directly supports a number of the beneficiary groups which the Foundation funds. It offers a weekly lunch club for older people; runs two LGBT groups, one weekly and one monthly; and runs a weekly group in partnership with another organisation for women as part of their parole conditions, or for women at risk of offending.  In addition, the Centre’s activities help asylum seekers and refugees, Gypsies and Travellers, and people with mental health conditions.

In October 2016, the Foundation agreed a £5,000 grant towards the core costs of running the Centre.  Over the year, the charity aims to develop a fortnightly group working with female sex workers, and increase the current lunchtime provision for older people into a full day’s session.


About Time

About Time is a volunteer-led organisation, based at a church venue in Plymouth.  It supports asylum seekers and refugees and runs an open drop-in twice a week.  The sessions provide a safe friendly meeting place and opportunities for people to learn and practice English.  About Time runs a time-bank which is open to the local community, where anyone can get involved, share their skills and knowledge, experience and goodwill.

The Foundation has contributed £3,032 to About Time in October 2016.  This will fund the costs of providing English classes at one of the drop-ins each week, and enable around 50 people over the year to benefit.

Justice First

Justice First is a registered charity which helps people in the Tees Valley who are seeking asylum.  It helps those whose appeals have been rejected to re-engage with the legal system, and offers advice, information, casework support, and a friendly and welcoming environment. Around 500-600 people are assisted each year.

The charity has been offered a three-year grant of £5,000 pa in June 2016.  The funding will support the core running costs of Justice First, and enable it to continue supporting asylum seekers. Overall aims are to increase the support offered to individuals, increase the awareness-raising activities run, and reduce the stress and isolation felt by clients, thus improving their well-being.

www.justicefirst.org.uk