Bristol was one of the first cities across the UK to be involved in creating the national movement of ‘City of Sanctuary’ organisations.  Bristol City of Sanctuary, like others, offers welcome and sanctuary to people fleeing violence or persecution, and aims to create a supportive community across the city involving charities, businesses, individuals and groups, the council and other agencies.

At the Foundation’s June 2022 meeting, Trustees agreed a grant totalling £7,500 split across three years. The funding is towards salary costs, and will directly help administer the charity’s Transport Fund. The Fund was initiated by Bristol City of Sanctuary and works in partnership with First Bus, Bristol’s transport provider. The Fund enables around 75 asylum seekers and refugees to access free bus tickets so they are able to access appointments, services and activities.  Bristol City of Sanctuary has a working arrangement with key refugee agencies across the area which make referrals to the Fund.  Since the first instalment of the grant, the charity has reported that First Bus has agreed to expand the number of tickets it offers which will help even more destitute and vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees.

This charity has been set up on the existing ‘International Clubhouse Model’ that focuses on peer-led structured support groups.  Norfolk Clubhouse is based in Norwich and is working to establish two mental health hubs – in the rural market town of Watton, and in the Thorpe Hamlet part of Norwich.  The Watton hub meets twice-weekly and is facilitated by a sessional worker, who supports members in whatever they wish to develop, such as helping write a CV and find employment, or plan activities such as cookery sessions for example.  The hub at Thorpe Hamlet now meets twice a week with longer sessions has some focus on creative projects that members are interested in.  It is also developing a community garden at the hub and possibly a Men’s Group.

In June 2022, the Foundation agreed funding towards running costs of Norfolk Clubhouse.  The £3,000 will contribute towards existing costs of the hubs, and help support the organisation to further develop and open more clubs.  Overall, clubs benefit members through improving wellbeing, enabling better access to services, and boosting their confidence and motivations.

Talk ED is the rebranded charity Anorexia and Bulimia Care that has been in existence since 1989.  It was founded by families with lived experience of eating disorders to provide recovery-focussed support, both to people affected by eating disorders themselves, and their families and friends.  Core services are delivered online and via telephone.  Talk ED also has a useful website and resources that provide relevant information, as well as personal stories of recovery that are designed to raise awareness and give hope to people looking for help.  One-to-one support is available, through appointment-based calls, and also group support offered online.

At the June 2022 meeting, Allen Lane Foundation Trustees offered funding of £12,000 towards the charity’s core running costs.  As a national organisation it deals with many thousands of calls, emails and requests for support each year.  People benefitting report feeling understood, supported and empowered, and the charity also helps carers to be better informed and equipped to support their loved one.

Alumah is a community-led organisation that helps support people affected by domestic abuse. It works across Suffolk from its base in the market town of Brandon. The organisation’s vision is to educate and raise awareness of abuse; to provide support and space for people to talk; and to empower and enable people affected by abuse to be able to break free and live better lives. The team at Alumah are people with lived experience of abuse, and are trained as Suffolk Domestic Abuse Champions. More than 210 people benefit from support each year.

At the trustee meeting in June 2002, the Foundation’s trustees are supporting Alumah through a grant of £6,000. The funding will help contribute towards running costs of the service. This includes online and face-to-face work, one-to-one support as well as groups and running the Freedom Programme. Benefits for people supported include they will be able to move forward in their lives with more understanding and more confidence and that they feel they have worth and are valuable.

Gifted Women provide an employability programme centred around self-confidence, wellbeing and community engagement. It operates in and around Plymouth in the south west, and is a relatively new organisation, set up in 2020. Gifted Women aims to work with and benefit women who are experiencing multiple disadvantage. It supports women affected by a mix of complex issues such as substance misuse, trauma and a history of offending. The employability programme helps to build confidence, soft skills, networks and capabilities so that the women are better equipped to access and retain employment. Each cohort benefits up to 12 women over a six month period.

Allen Lane Foundation trustees agreed a grant at their June 2022 meeting. The funding of £5,000 will contribute towards the salary cost of a part-time coordinator. This role will manage the overall operations and support two project workers and nine volunteer peer mentors. Having a coordinator in post will enable the charity to profess into sustainability and growth and maximise the outputs and benefits for all the individual women engaged with its services.

UareUK (United to Assist Refugees UK) describes itself as a grassroots humanitarian movement dedicated to refugees and those fleeing war and persecution.  It operates in Wrexham which is one of the three dispersal areas of asylum seekers in Wales.  The organisation resources, sorts, and re-distributes donated items for refugees and asylum seekers in and around the city.  UareUK offers a twice-weekly drop-in and supports around 150 people on an ad-hoc basis per annum.

In June 2022, Allen Lane has made a grant of £4,500 to UareUK.  This will help to contribute towards rent of new premises for the organisation, so that the service can be expanded upon and run as a central hub.  It will also help towards the coordinator’s wage to help run the hub.  Having a dedicated space for the organisation will enable it to support more people and increase its activities such as running English classes, a free aid shop, foodshare scheme, set up an information point etc.  It will offer a lifeline for many, and a social meeting place that will result in people feeling less isolated or marginalised.  It will also provide space for other agencies to offer their services at.  Outcomes of the work are than people will have increased opportunities to learn and practice English and they will feel happier and less isolated through attending activities.

Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative works to address the issues faced by people who are socially excluded and disadvantaged within Fermanagh and bordering counties in Northern Ireland.  It offers training and opportunities to people five days a week from its offices and base in Enniskillen. Core activities are around employability, with IT training, personal development and a range of short courses on offer – such as Health & Safety, Manual Handling, First Aid etc.  In more recent years it has offered craft activities and introduced a Men’s Shed Project too.

At the June 2022 meeting, the Allen Lane Foundation agreed a grant of £5,965.  This covers the shortfall in the budget of a digital skills project for older people that Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative is running.  The project will benefit around 45 people, and aims to improve their knowledge and skills in using technology, either through a computer, smart phone or other device.  It will help older people to access important services online such as booking vaccinations appointments etc, and improve online safety through better understanding of scams or fraud.

The Survivor Lighthouse was set up to respond to local community need around domestic abuse and violence. It is based within St Mark’s Community Church in Smethwick in the West Midlands and has been running since 2019.  The organisation is open two days a week for people to attend drop-in sessions, or find support or useful resources.  It runs weekly daytime and evening Freedom Programme courses and also offers a weekly social get-together.  Around 30 survivor families are supported each week and referrals continue to increase.  The organisation is run completely by volunteers.

At the June 2022 meeting of Trustees, a grant of £2,500 was agreed. The funding is a contribution to the general running costs of The Survivor Lighthouse.  Outcomes of the work include improved wellbeing, reduced isolation and increased safety for the families the organisation helps to support.

The Croft Visitors’ Support and Advice Centre delivers support for families and visitors at HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow. Known locally as ‘the big hoose’, the charity offers support to over 15,000 visitors each year. The Croft visitor centre is open seven days a week, staffed by a small team that help with emotional and practical support and also advocacy and interactions between families and the Prison Service. There are activities, books and activity packs for children waiting to visit their family member, helping the make the visit easier and less stressful for all concerned.

The application to Allen Lane was for funding towards an additional support worker post. In June 2022 Trustees agreed a grant totalling £10,000 towards this part-time post which will help to support over 1,500 visitors a year. The role will also be responsible for undertaking outreach work in the local community, creating peer support and befriending groups and liaising with local organisations to increase the variety of support available for families. Outcomes of the work overall are that families have better experiences of visiting family members in prison and family ties are maintained, and ultimately that prisoners are less likely to reoffend on release as they have continued support from their families.