Refugee Action is today launching an England-wide programme to help prevent people in the asylum system living in crisis.
The Early Action Charter for People Seeking Asylum Programme, a three-year partnership between frontline organisations, has received over £850,000 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund, the UK’s largest funder of community activity.
The funding, together with capital raised by Refugee Action, will bring together eight refugee and migrant sector organisations to test preventative approaches and transform current ways of working.
Over the next three years, the programme aims to help more than 3,000 people seeking asylum to better understand the system and avoid crisis.
Along with Refugee Action, the partnership includes MRANG, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, Action Foundation, Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Southwark Day Centre, Bristol Refugee Rights and Brushstrokes.
Too often people seeking safety in the UK end up homeless and unable to feed and clothe themselves and their families.
Cuts to legal aid often mean they are unable to access vital legal advice. Voluntary sector organisations step in to help people in crisis by providing food, shelter, clothing and advice about the support they are entitled to. But few are working to prevent people falling into poverty and homelessness, or to de-escalate these crises, before they happen.
Tim Hilton, Head of Services and Good Practice at Refugee Action, says:
“People seeking asylum say that understanding the UK’s complex system and how to engage with it effectively at key decision-making points, would help them avoid crisis.
“This is a matter of life and death. A lack of information about the system is leaving people isolated and vulnerable to exploitation. It can also lead to homelessness, poverty, health problems, mental health issues and return to persecution, imprisonment and death.
“At Refugee Action we’re determined to change this. We’re delighted to have received National Lottery funding, enabling us to join forces with other frontline organisations to transform the crisis culture within asylum services. Our goal is to support thousands of people seeking safety to navigate the asylum system effectively and prevent them falling into poverty and destitution.”
James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said:
“Thanks to National Lottery funding, a large number of organisations will come together to design and implement changes that will improve the lives of people seeking asylum.
“We are proud to be supporting a project that brings key organisations together, encourages co-production, and challenges current ways of working.”
For more information contact the Refugee Action press office on 07771748159 or email JennaP@refugee-action.org.uk.
Notes to editors:
Funding for the programme will total £1.1m, with £885,891 from the Big Lottery Fund and £225,000 from Refugee Action.
Refugee Action will work with seven partners across the UK to ensure the people they work with understand the crisis points within the asylum system and how to avoid, or de-escalate them: MRANG (Merseyside Refugee & Asylum Seekers Pre & Postnatal Support Group), Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, Action Foundation, PAFRAS, Southwark Day Centre, Bristol Refugee Rights and Brushstrokes.
The programme will see 50 organisations endorse the Early Action Charter principles and join the practitioner network to inform ongoing development of early action approaches. It is being delivered by Refugee Action’s Good Practice and Partnerships Team.
Refugee Action is a national charity that supports refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. Our vision is that refugees and people seeking asylum will be welcome in the UK. They will get justice, live free of poverty and be able to successfully rebuild their lives.
The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.