Friends of Scottish Settlers

Known as FOSS, this charity aims to help New Scots integrate into Falkirk and remove barriers to accessing service. It is a befriending charity, working with any newcomers to the area, in the majority supporting resettled refugees and people in the asylum system. FOSS is based in Falkirk in the Forth Valley.

In February 2023, Allen Lane has agreed funding of £4,000 per annum for two years towards the salary of the part-time project manager. This role works on projects specifically with asylum seekers who have been placed in a hotel in Falkirk and have little other community support. The project manager organises weekly ESOL sessions, and group support. They will also start up and progress new projects including a public transport voucher scheme, volunteer-led walks games and activity sessions, and befriending. Aims of the position are to increase the efficiency of the charity, to help more asylum seekers learn and improve their English, to help them take advantage of education and prepare for employment, and to help them form local relationships and networks.

Conversation Club Leeds

Conversation Club Leeds is a registered charity that has been running since 2016.  It offers a safe and relaxed atmosphere in which asylum seekers and refugees can meet and learn or practice their English.  The charity is completely volunteer-led, with local volunteers and asylum seekers and refugees all offering mutual support.  Two weekly sessions are run each week, and overall at least 100 individuals benefit.  As well as informal English classes and conversation, the sessions include activities such as quizzes, crafts and people can find advice and information.  The charity also organises outings to places of interest, and workshops with other organisations – such as cooking sessions, or walking for example.

At the February 2023 meeting, Allen Lane agreed a grant of £5,000 to be split over a two-year period.  This will contribute towards general running costs of the Club.  Benefits for the participants include improved levels of English speaking; improved access to cultural and other local opportunities; and reducing people’s isolation and creating and encouraging friendships.


Living Vital

Living Vital is a community gardening project based at Stanmer Park on the outskirts of Brighton. The organisation aims to improve mental and physical wellbeing through socialising and connection with nature. It offers the opportunity for people to learn about growing food sustainably, improving local biodiversity, nutrition, simple woodwork and bushcraft skills, and cookery and runs regular sessions with various groups in the community. Its main project is ‘Common Ground’ – an organic food growing community project benefitting around 60 individuals from the refugee and migrant community.

In October 2022, the Foundation made a grant for £5,000 to be split equally over a two-year period. The funding is to contribute towards general running costs of the Common Ground project. The project works in partnership with Voices in Exile, a refugee charity in Brighton that will refer individuals. Regular therapeutic gardening sessions will help to improve mental and physical health, boost confidence and reduce people’s isolation. It is also an opportunity for the refugee and migrant community to make new friends and connections in the local community.

Watford & Three Rivers Refugee Partnership

This charity works to support refugees and asylum seekers across the Watford and Three Rivers area in the south west of Hertfordshire. It offers befriending and advocacy, helping people to navigate complicated UK systems and providing opportunities to access education and find legal employment. It helps individuals with any resettlement issues, and raises awareness of the challenges refugees and asylum seekers face, which helps to improve understanding and tolerance in the local community. ESOL classes are run, also fortnightly drop-ins, a weekly social hub, support with food parcels, clothing, laptops, school uniforms, etc and some social activities.

The Allen Lane Foundation agreed funding to contribute to the salary of a caseworker post – this was a grant totalling £9,000 to be split over two years from October 2022. The role will involve managing the more complex cases as well as managing the group of volunteers who carry out befriending and casework currently for clients. It is anticipated that the new position will result in a more effective, reliable and consistent source of support for refugees and asylum seekers.

Bristol City of Sanctuary

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.


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.

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.

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 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%.

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.