Survivors of Torture Activity Fund

This Manchester-based group works to support survivors of torture that come to the UK as asylum seekers. The Activity Fund offers support on a long-term basis, and aims to ease the physical and mental pain often experienced by survivors of torture. Work includes encouraging and assisting people to access community facilities, helping people to source practical items they need such as equipment and books for college courses, helping with jobs information and advice, and accessing volunteering opportunities, training or suitable jobs. Overall the work improves survivors’ emotional and psychological wellbeing, supports positive mental health, and helps with their rehabilitation. It provides a friendly face in an otherwise quite frightening world.

At the October 2021 Trustee meeting, a grant totalling £5,000, split equally over two years was made. The funding will go towards two projects that the group runs – supporting people to access local leisure centres with passes; and assisting with practicalities through its Positivity Building Project. Outcomes of the work include that survivors of torture will have improved physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing; and that they will feel more positive, confident, and start to alleviate their difficulties.

www.stafund.org.uk

Welcome House

Welcome House was established in 2020 with the primary aim to welcome and offer emotional and practical support to asylum seekers in Hull. The founder is an asylum seeker who has many years’ experience of supporting other refugees and asylum seekers, and has support from the City Council and others. A city centre building is being leased to provide a central location for the charity, and this includes a number of rooms, open space, a kitchen and social activities area. Welcome House provides befriending and emotional support, practical help with food and clothes, and runs a range of activities and classes for people to participate in. More than 250 asylum seekers and refugees are being supported.

The Allen Lane Foundation has agreed funding of £4,000 towards the salary costs of a coordinator to manage the work. This was at the June 2021 Trustee meeting.

Asylos

Asylos is an international network of volunteer researchers who help asylum seekers worldwide assert their right to asylum. The volunteers research in-country background information to evidence persecution of an asylum seeker. The overall aim is to ensure that the asylum procedure is evidence-based and unbiased – providing access to crucial information for asylum seekers to substantiate their claims. Over 100 volunteers are trained and supported to undertake the research and provide detailed reports – in 2020, 74 (of which 22 across the UK) were produced for use by various charities, groups and legal bodies.

At the February 2021 meeting, Allen Lane trustees agreed a £10,000 grant to Asylos. This will contribute towards the organisation’s UK work.  Over the next year, this is expected to include at least 25 new case-specific country-of-origin research reports for UK asylum seekers; expand the base of beneficiaries in the UK by at least 10%; and increase the number of downloads from Asylos’ website from legal practitioners in the UK by at least 10%.

www.asylos.eu

Ubuntu Women Shelter

Ubuntu is a black and minoritized community specialist charity founded in 2017 by, and for, women with experience of the immigration system in Glasgow. The aim of Ubuntu is to provide advocacy and support for vulnerable and destitute women – those with unclear immigration, no recourse to public funds (NRPF), and women unable to access homelessness, welfare and housing services. It has secured a two-bedroomed property to use as an immediate, temporary and short-term accommodation for women who are destitute and homeless. Staff and volunteers work with them to access secure and safe follow-on housing, and offer wrap-around and intensive support, tailored to individual women’s needs.

Allen Lane trustees agreed a £5,000 grant for Ubuntu Women Shelter at the February 2021 meeting. This will contribute towards salary costs of a new part-time community outreach & housing support worker. This role will help connect around 90 women with outreach services, assist with finding and managing appropriate accommodation, and help women settle and become integrated into local communities.

www.ubuntu-glasgow.org.uk

Hartlepool Asylum Seeker and Refugee Group

This Group is run by volunteers and exists to provide help and support to refugees and people seeking asylum in the town of Hartlepool.  It runs a weekly drop-in support service at a church hall offering advice, friendship and a safe place to meet, with up-to 60 people attending.  Other organisations that are based out of town regularly come along to the drop-in to deliver their services to attendees – such as the Red Cross, Justice First and Open Doors.   The drop-in also includes an English class, activities and there are donated clothes, food, and household items available for those in need.  The groups additional activities include organising an Easter party and Christmas party which is always well received by children and families, delivering sports activities during the summer holidays in a local park and each year they also plan and deliver a Diversity Celebration event, which brings together families, voluntary organisations, statutory partners and invited dignitaries.  The event brings many people together, breaking down barriers and promoting cohesion.

In October 2020, the Foundation offered a grant of £1,500 towards this Group’s general running costs.  Outcomes from the work include increased access to advice and support for individuals, and reduced isolation.

Norwich International Youth Project

This charity supports around 150 young asylum seekers and refugees across Norfolk – with a large proportion aged between 18 and 25. Many of the young people arrived as Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and have little family or other support, and some young adults are in shared accommodation that has been made available for asylum seekers whilst the UK is under COVID lockdown restrictions. Support is provided with drop-in activities, groups, and English classes. The young people benefit from interaction and support from trusted adults, and through peer support and friendship with others who are in a similar position.

At the October 2020 meeting, Trustees agreed funding of £4,000 per year for two years. The grant will help with the costs of rent for the spaces used for the weekly group sessions. Overall outcomes for the asylum seekers and refugees involved include improved English, improved wellbeing and resilience, and better access to opportunities and further education and employment.

www.niyp.org.uk

Homeplus NI

Homeplus Northern Ireland works in Belfast, and assists refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who are destitute and/or homeless.  It offers a drop-in and advice centre during daytimes, and an outreach service every night of the year for rough sleepers and people who are homeless.  As well as practical support, Homeplus NI helps with advice and information for foreign nationals, on their rights and responsibilities, benefits, housing, migration, employment and provides access to public services where possible.  It is helping growing numbers of people whose asylum case is pending; who are new to the country; or who are appealing their case because it was turned down.

The Allen Lane Foundation offered a £5,000 grant to Homeplus NI at the June 2020 trustee meeting.  The funding is towards the core costs of the advice centre, including a contribution to rent and sessional support.  Around 350 destitute refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are expected to benefit from the advice centre each year.

www.homeplusni.com

 

Open Hearts Open Borders

Open Hearts Open Borders (OHOB) is a charity that grew from a grassroots project during the refugee crisis.  A group of people came together who were keen to do something to help refugees – they collected clothes, food, first aid and baby equipment, and organised the delivery of them to refugee camps across Europe. In addition, they linked up with local projects to collect and redistribute items for refugees and asylum seekers in need.  From its base in Plymouth, OHOB now works across Devon and Cornwall with around 30 designated donation points.  Items are redistributed via partner organisations across the counties.

In June 2020, Allen Lane offered a £2,000 contribution towards OHOB’s work in the UK.  This will assist the charity to continue its work in helping to resettle refugees and asylum seekers in the south west who have need of basic furniture, kitchen equipment, clothes, and/or baby items.  Around 200-300 families/individuals have been supported each year.

www.ohob.org.uk

 

SHARe Knowsley

SHARe (Support and Help for Asylum seekers and Refugees) Knowsley was set up to offer a hand of welcome and friendship to the growing numbers of asylum seekers and refugees being housed in the local area. The metropolitan borough of Knowsley is part of Merseyside, and comprises the towns and districts of Kirkby, Prescot, Huyton, Whiston, Halewood, Cronton and Stockbridge. A weekly drop-in at Prescot Methodist Church has available a selection of foodstuffs, toiletries, nearly new clothing and household items at nominal costs. Volunteers are on hand to help with advice, information and help, and they also support individuals with outreach and advocacy work, accompanying them to appointments at agencies for example. SHARe Knowsley also runs seven English language classes each week, and there are social activities organised throughout the year.

A contribution of £4,000 was offered to the charity at the February 2020 meeting of Trustees. This will help with the provision of English classes, and over the coming year will benefit around 150 asylum seekers and refugees.

During Lockdown SHARe Knowsley have continued to provide support during this difficult time by delivering food parcels as well as toiletry and house hygiene packs. English lessons have continued online and one to one support has still been available.

www.shareknowsley.org.uk

Open Door North East

Based in Middlesbrough, Open Door works across areas of the North East, particularly Teesside and the Tees Valley. It’s core work is to provide advice, information and advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers. The charity offers three weekly drop-ins and one-to-one casework throughout the week. Around 900 people benefit over a typical year – and are supported with a whole host of issues including destitution support, benefits advice, finding jobs and training, ESOL, and the provision of a hot meal and weekly food parcels where necessary. A large part of what Open Door does is the provision of asylum and refugee accommodation through a hosting and housing project – this has expanded over recent years, and it now manages 39 houses including three properties that are owned by the charity, acting as a social lettings agent.

In February 2020, Allen Lane Trustees agreed to make a grant of £10,000 to Open Door. The funding will contribute towards general running costs of the charity. Outcomes of the work include that asylum seekers at risk of, or experiencing, destitution will be assessed and registered for support; newly recognised refugees will be supported with welfare, benefits, housing, and employment help; and at least ten additional destitute asylum seekers will be provided with safe, furnished homes.

www.opendoornortheast.com