Some examples of what we are looking for

  • Projects led by refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Projects that involve people with direct experience of being a refugee / migrant.
  • Projects led by community groups that want to support new arrivals.
  • Groups that involve refugees and asylum seekers and other local people in planning which activities are needed and in delivering the project.
  • Activities for the wider community and refugees and asylum-seekers to do together.
  • Activities run by refugee-led groups in partnership with other local groups.
  • Refugees leading activities in their community.
  • Projects that get people volunteering and sharing their skills. For example asylum seekers teaching languages, refugees leading activities in the community, local residents demonstrating how to mend cars, mentoring young people.
  • Projects that link refugees and asylum seekers to good opportunities, advice and counselling
  • Projects that include refugee and asylum seeker children and young people (18 years old and younger)

We aim to strengthen planning and communication skills so that people can support integration effectively.  We can provide advice on how to do this.

All projects should support human rights and equality.


New Beginnings has already had a successful ‘pilot’ stage. The fund began when a consortium of funders noticed that the increase in migrants to the UK was putting strain on community groups.

They also noticed that more people in the UK wanted to support refugees and asylum seekers.

The funders felt that the best way to help was to fund small community groups. 45 groups were funded by the pilot. These were either refugee-led groups or local residents working to welcome refugees and asylum seekers.

The aim of the fund is to increase community-based support for refugees and asylum seekers.

Eligibility criteria

This fund should not be used for anything that receives statutory funding. The fund cannot be used to fund:

  • Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme activities.
  • Any other statutory funded activities.

We do want to fund small refugee-led community groups and neighbourhood groups. If you do not meet all the eligibility criteria we can help. If you have a good project but feel you do not meet all the eligibility criteria please get in touch.

If you are not a formal group you can apply in partnership with a formal group that fulfils the eligibility criteria below.

Groups with income of more than £500,000 are not eligible. However if you have a good idea for a project please get in touch. Your ideas may help us plan future funding programmes.

Eligibility criteria:

Open to any:

  • Registered UK charity
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation
  • Company Limited by Guarantee;
  • not for profit registered Community Interest Company;
  • Constituted community and voluntary sector organisation

You must have a minimum of three committee members who are not relatives

You must have a governing document (Constitution, Memorandum & Articles or Set of rules)

You must have a bank account in the organisation’s name

You must have up-to-date accounts or record of income and expenditure

You must have a recent trustees annual report if you are a charity, unless you are a new group.

You must give evidence of an increase in demand for services OR an increase in enquiries from the public wanting to support you OR BOTH. For example phone or email enquiries.

You must have a ‘Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults’ policy and procedure

If you work with children you must have a ‘Safeguarding Children’ policy and procedures

And if you work with children and young people all staff, volunteers and trustees must be trained in safeguarding. This is a condition of the funding

You must have an equal opportunities policy

Grants are for the duration of one year

Grants of £1000 to £10,000 are available for individual groups

If you are

  • not constituted
  • an informal group
  • or a collective

you should apply in partnership with an eligible organisation. The eligible organisation must be part of delivering the project. The eligible organisation must manage the grant.

If you are a national organisation you must demonstrate strong local connections.

We will shortlist applications using these priorities:

  • Small, local groups
  • Groups with an income of under £500,000. This includes groups with much lower income

Income, expenditure and reserves will be looked at when your application is assessed

  • Groups that give reasons why the project is needed locally. Evidence of an increase in demand for services OR an increase in enquiries from the public wanting to support you OR BOTH. For example, more emails, telephone calls or visitors
  • Groups that give examples of similar projects where the methods used have achieved results

(We want groups to think about their impact and how to show that their methods work. Examples included in the application can be from another group and even examples found online)

  • Groups that show they are thinking about how the project can continue after the New Beginnings funding ends (thinking about sustainability / succession strategies)
  • Groups where staff and volunteers are refugees or asylum seekers.
    (We aim for at least 40% of grant funding to be for groups staffed by refugees and asylum seekers / people with migrant experience)
  • Projects that work with child refuges and asylum seekers age 18 and under. This includes unaccompanied children
    (We aim to use 30% of the funding for groups that work with refugee and asylum seeker children)
  • Groups that work together to put on activities and events
  • Groups working with multiple nationalities


Activities we will not fund:

  • Statutory services
  • Activities delivered as part of the funding received for the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme.
    (Activities that include Syrian refugees are welcome, but this fund is not for activities that are part of the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme.)
  • Activities promoting party political activity
  • Major capital costs (purchases of smaller items is okay, even if they will be used after the project)
  • Individual sponsorship
  • Activities generating private profit
  • Faith groups are welcome to apply but activities which evangelise or proselytise religious beliefs will not be eligible. Projects that only work with one faith are also not eligible.
  • ‘Mythbusting’ activity. Research shows that sharing facts and figures about refugees and asylum seekers isn’t always helpful. Instead we want to fund opportunities for local communities to meet and spend time with refugees and asylum seekers. We can help you raise awareness. A good start is this study by British Future:

What do we want from a Safeguarding Policy?

What do we want from a Safeguarding Policy?

  • The group has its own safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures. We can help with drafting these.
  • The policy should include definitions of abuse and signs of abuse and reporting procedure in case of disclosure.
  • All members of the group can clearly explain what steps to take in case of suspicion or disclosure of abuse.
  • Everyone, including children and young people knows about and uses safeguarding in their day-to-day work.
  • The policy should include the name of the person responsible for child protection.
  • All staff and volunteers have the appropriate checks.
    (Checks on all eligible staff, volunteers and members of the governing board are a condition of the grant. In England and Wales these are ‘DBS’ checks. In Scotland a check by the ‘PVG’ scheme. In Northern Ireland it is an ‘Access NI’ check. These checks are for people working directly with, or with access to, children and young people.)
  • Staff, volunteers or trustees who do not work directly with children and young people should be trained on safeguarding. Training should be up-to-date. (Training on safeguarding for all staff, volunteers and trustees is a condition of the New Beginnings Grant. This can be done online.)
  • The group should take steps to ensure children and young people in their care are safe. For example doing risk assessments for activities, ensuring staff hold relevant qualifications, and providing adequate training to volunteers.
  • A Vulnerable Adults Policy includes a description of how abuse is different for adults.

What do we want from an Equality and Diversity Policy?

  • References Equality Act 2010
  • Make sure it covers: age; being married or in a civil partnership or not; being pregnant or having a child; disability; race; religion/belief or lack of; gender; sexual orientation; being or becoming a transsexual person
  • Equal access to services
  • Employment
  • Preventing harassment and ensuring everyone is treated equally
  • Complaints are dealt with fairly
  • An understanding of how it applies to your organisation

Examples of groups funded

Examples of Groups funded in the last
New Beginnings Round

These groups received a grant of between £9000 and £10,000

Groups working with Refugee and Asylum Seeker Children


Home Start Dover

The New Beginnings fund will help parents in Dover to support asylum seekers and refugee parents and young children.

Home-Start is a charity that makes local connections. Home-Start ‘match’ experienced parents with newer parents. The experienced parent supports the newer parent with tasks and friendly advice. They are volunteers.

New Beginnings funding will enable refugees and asylum seekers to join activities like family groups, holidays and healthy eating events. Refugees and asylum seekers will receive assistance with forms, finances and travel.  Like all Home-Start families they have access to emergency funds.

Dover families will participate in activities together with asylum seekers and refugees. The aim is to help people feel less lonely and to understand and accept each other. Home-Start helps people build support networks of friends.

Home-Start Dover estimate that 30 people will benefit from the grant.

Note: Home-Start Dover is an independent local charity that is a member of the Home-Start federation.
New Beginnings cannot fund national charities unless there is a strong local connection.


Whiterock Children’s Centre

New Beginnings funding means refugees and asylum seekers can volunteer in West Belfast. The fund will help children and parents at the same time. It will pay for travel and childcare expenses so parents can volunteer. Parents will take part in programmes designed to break down barriers and build relationships. Residents will socialise with each other.  Asylum seekers / refugee children will have additional opportunities to play, learn and socialise with children from local communities within West Belfast. Asylum seekers and refugee families will feel less isolated and safer within the communities that they live in.

The Children’s Centre has seen increased demand for services and the need for new kinds of services.  This funding will also help co-ordination of services in West Belfast and highlight what is needed across different agencies.

Whiterock estimate that 115 people will benefit from the grant.

Whiterock Children’s Centre is a charity.

Projects working with Adults and Young People

The Bike Project

New Beginnings funding will pay for refugees and asylum seekers to have cycle training and meet Londoners who have lived here all their lives and other newer arrivals.

The Bike Project receives donations of abandoned bikes. They work with refugees and asylum seekers to mend and service the bikes. They then donate a bike, along with lights, helmet and lock, to a refugee/ asylum seeker. The bikes help refugees and asylum seekers travel up to 40 miles an day to access essential services like English lessons. This saves them money and provides new skills and friendships. Many return as volunteers, enjoying the work and the company.

“It’s like I have new wings,” says Sudanese asylum seeker Maizer Ramadan.

Bike Project have made two films about the project:

The Bike Project estimate that 1000 people will benefit with 30 volunteers benefitting.

The Bike Project is a registered charity and a company.
They sell bikes to the public as well as donating them to refugees.

Maryhill Integration Network (MIN)

New Beginnings will help this award winning charity continue to involve refugees and asylum seekers in the arts in Scotland.

Anna came to Glasgow in 2005, after fleeing the oppressive regime in Iran. She came from a liberal family who believed in the value of the arts, especially traditional dance. In Iran, Anna’s mother found an illegal dance class for her to attend, however it became too dangerous so they fled.  In Glasgow, Anna felt homesick and lonely. After joining MIN she found friends and was able to dance and perform as part of the Dance Project and International Fashion Show.

“MIN gave me the chance to show my culture to other people, the dance group is unique and I love it. We show people, through dance, why refugees have to leave their countries. Refugees need to find ways to express themselves and share the beauty of their culture, as well as learning about Scottish culture. I feel so lucky to be part of MIN, to share dances and costumes from my country, it is my voice and experiences, but also that of so many other Iranian women.”

Anastasia from Scotland is a volunteer. “I feel the work that MIN do is so important to our society, working for the community at grassroots level, which is fundamental to building community relationships, integrating the people that come here as refugees and for the community as a whole. It has been a very empowering, healing experience for me; it feels like belonging to a family, and would leave a great void in my life if it wasn’t there.”

Maryhill Integration Network estimate that 692 people will benefit from the funding.

Maryhill Integration Network is a charity and independently constituted unincorporated voluntary organisation based in Glasgow.

A Partnership Project

Unity in Diversity and Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group

This project received £20,000

New Beginnings will help this partnership expand. It will pay for a waged worker for these groups that have relied on volunteers until now.

Numbers of asylum seekers in Swansea are growing: from around 600 accommodation places at the start of 2015, Swansea now has around 1000 places. More of the people are badly traumatised. Many are unaccompanied young men, in large national, ethnically conflicted groups. There are more destitute refused asylum seekers and destitute refugees.

The funding will pay for education and training, social and cultural events, advice, signposting, and impact monitoring. The funding means the groups can accept more local people wishing to volunteer and can train more volunteers. Asylum-seekers and refugees are not just learners, or service users. They will help maintain and update a directory of services. This will help other groups and agencies refer people to the existing available services. These changes will help the groups be more sustainable.

The partnership estimate 600 people will benefit from this work.

Unity in Diversity and Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group are both registered charities.

What applicants need to be awarded a grant?

What applicants need to be awarded a grant


We want to support small groups.
If you do not have these documents yet please do not worry.
Please tell your community foundation if you need support on policy or documents.
We may approve your grant and support you to develop the documents you need.

You can also apply for the grant with a partner group that does meet the requirements below.


We do already have this We need to have this  We do not need this We need support on this
Evidence of an increase in demand for services OR an increase in enquiries from the public wanting to support you OR BOTH


A registered bank account in your organisation’s name


Up to date accounts or record of income and expenditure. Tell us about last year’s income and spending, how much you have now and how much you expect to spend and raise in the next year


Evidence that you are one of these:

·         A registered UK charity;

·         A Charitable Incorporated Organisation;

·         A company limited by guarantee;

·         A not for profit registered Community Interest Company;

·         A Constituted community and voluntary sector organisation

Minimum of three committee members who are not relatives


A governing document (Constitution/Memorandum & Articles/Set of rules).


We will be looking to see that:
Your legal status is eligible.
Your legal framework is applicable to your aims and activities

Proposed activities fall within your groups’ charitable objectives

There is information on Annual General Meetings, meetings frequency and decision making.


A recent trustees’ annual report if you are a charity (if you are a new group you do not need this)[1]


Equal Opportunities Policy


Vulnerable Adults Policy


Organisations that work with children or children OR hold any information about children must have a safeguarding policy and procedures.


All staff, volunteers and trustees must be trained in safeguarding as a condition of the funding.


All the questions in the expression of interest and the application form

  • this document is not the application form.
  • It contains the ‘expression of interest’ questions so you can think about your expression of interest in advance.
  • It also contains the ‘full application’ questions that you will be invited to complete if your planned activities are a good match for the New Beginnings fund

Expression of interest questions

Name of your organisation
Address line 1
Facebook Page
Twitter Handle
Which local authority will the activity take place in?
Main contact person (These are the details that will be used for correspondence purposes)


What type of organisation are you?
(select all that apply)
A registered charity Open to any registered UK charity; Charitable Incorporated Organisations; companies limited by guarantee; not for profit registered Community Interest Companies; Constituted community and voluntary sector organisations (you must have a minimum of three unrelated committee members) with a registered bank account

Non-constituted groups or collectives can apply. They should apply in partnership with an eligible organisation. The eligible organisation must be part of delivering the project. The eligible organisation must manage the grant.

(if yes please supply number)
Company limited by guarantee
(if yes please supply number)
Charitable Incorporated Organisations
(if yes please supply number)
Unincorporated club or association
Community interest company?
If other, please specify
Are you part of a larger regional or national organisation?
Organisation’s annual income for past financial year
Please provide a description of your proposed New Beginnings project.
Please tell us about the people involved in your project, let us know if your group is led or staffed by refugees and asylum seekers.
If you have run similar projects before tell us about their impact.
Explain why you are confident that your experience will make the project succeed.
This is about your organisation’s track record. If you are new to delivering this type of work, tell us about skills your group has that will make the project a success. You can also give examples of successful similar projects done by different groups. If you have delivered projects successfully in the past, tell us what was achieved. Please also tell us about any partners that you intend to work with.
Primary – age group. Please indicate the age group that best reflects the majority of your users.




Full application questions


Organisation start date – month Give us the date (month and year) that your group was set up or formally established.
Organisation start date – year
Organisation’s annual expenditure for past financial year
Current Free Reserves Free reserves is the money that is freely available for general purposes.

We will assess free reserves on a case by case basis. Although we do not impose a limit, if an applicant organisation has more than 8 months of its annual expenditure in unrestricted reserves then its application will be considered a lower priority for funding. If your group is holding significant financial reserves you will need to make it clear why these reserves cannot be used to cover the cost of the activity.

Organisation annual income for past financial year
Staffing and volunteers – how many of each of the following are involved in the organisation?
Full time staff / workers We need to know more about how your group is managed i.e. the structure. Please tell us if you have any staff, full-time or part-time. How many people are on your management committee (we recommend this is a minimum of 4).

To be eligible you will need to have a minimum of 3 unrelated committee members

Part time staff / workers
Management committee
Volunteers (excluding management committee)
Referee to be Contacted by CF
First Name
Last Name
Telephone (day)
Please describe the overall aims and objectives of your organisation and the activities or services your organisation provides Please tell us about your group’s aims and objectives. Give a short description of what your group does at the moment (usually found in your governing documents).
To help us understand the difference you make please tell us how you have helped an individual in the past and the change your organisation has made to their life. Please provide a case study of a person whose life has been considerably enhanced by your project or group .
This should include:
– The demonstration of need
– The difference made to the life of the person
– A quote from the person
NB If you are a new organisation please tell us. We do not expect you to have previous examples. This will not affect the success of your application.
We always welcome photographs that demonstrate the impact of a project; if you have a relevant picture of your previous work, please upload this below.
Project name Does your project have an overall project name, if so please enter it here.
Project funding / start date The funding period is 12 months
Project funding / end date
Please explain why refugees and asylum seekers need your organisation? i.e. Has there been a recent increase in demand for services? What evidence have you collected to demonstrate this need? For example Local Authority statistics and evidence you have collected such as evaluation forms, emails from users, user surveys.
How will you spend this grant to address the need and create opportunities? Please describe your project /activity and how it meets the grant criteria. Please also tell us what you need the money for. For example if you are planning to buy equipment tell us what you want to buy and what benefit it will have.
Tell us how you plan to bring refugees and asylum seekers together with other people in the local community. Please tell us whether you are using tried and tested methods of engagement or new methods. If you are using new methods please explain why you think they will work.
How will you ensure that you are reaching new people?
If you are successful you will be asked how you have increased participation, including how many volunteers and service users were new to you as a result of this funding.
What additional value will the grant bring to your existing activities? Please give details of the activities, service enhancements or outcomes that would not occur without the provision of this grant.
What difference will this grant made to your beneficiaries and the wider community? Please explain what will change for whom? Explain your expected outcomes. An ‘outcome’ is the benefits or changes that will happen as a result of your work i.e. the impact your work is having.
Please tell us how you will measure and report on the outcomes you expect to achieve? You might have informal discussions with users, do questionnaires, gather people in one place, do interviews and arrange discussion groups. You need to tell us how you will monitor and report on this project through the life of the grant. For example we suggest you keep a log of users of your services, participants on your courses, enquiries you deal with etc. You should also use this section to tell us how you will know whether you are being successful or not in meeting your objectives.
Will the work continue beyond the life of this grant?  If so, please indicate what you will do to make your work more sustainable (future funding applications, income generation ideas, etc.). What funding have you have secured or need to secure to deliver it? Please explain how you will fund your project if it is to continue after this grant
Select the primary outcome that best reflects the aims of your project or activity. You will be asked to report on these outcomes at the end of this programme

Maximise ability to strengthen community cohesion and build social capacity

Promote reduction of isolation and disadvantage and access to local services

How many people will benefit from this funding? We realise that you cannot give exact figures but please estimate as accurately as possible. This information is important and will be used to evaluate the project at the end of the grant period.
People benefiting directly People who will directly benefit from project activity and are typically involved on a one-to-one or group basis.
Volunteers benefiting Unpaid People who will work with and/or support the project
Primary – nationality. Please indicate the country that best reflects where the majority of your users are from. Picklist. Please select one nationality that best reflects the majority of the users of this facility or service.
Secondary – nationalities. Please list any other countries that the people you help are from
Primary – age group. Please indicate the age group that best reflects the majority of your users. Picklist. We are interested in knowing which Age groups would benefit from this grant.
Secondary – age group. Please list any other age groups of the people you help
Please indicate the gender of those that will benefit from this grant We realise that you cannot give exact figures but please estimate as accurately as possible.
If you are unsure please enter 50/50
How much money are you applying to us for? Please enter the amount you are requesting from us – up to £10,000.
Budget breakdown summary (Inc. VAT) Please provide a breakdown of:
-staff costs – requested amount and total costs
-volunteer costs – requested amount and total costs
-operational/activity costs – requested amount and total costs

-capital / equipment costs – requested amount and total costs

-publicity costs – requested amount and total costs

-other costs – requested amount and total costsPlease tick this box to confirm that, if your application is successful, you are willing to take part in, where appropriate, in any publicity activities. Supporting documents you will need to upload:
A copy of your governing document (e.g. constitution, memorandum & articles or set of rules)

·         A copy of your most recent annual accounts

·         A photocopy of a bank statement no more than 3 months old

·         Copies of your safeguarding (if you will be working with children or vulnerable adults) and equal opportunities policies, if you need support with this we suggest seeking guidance from the Safe Network

·         A list of the names and addresses of your management committee
If you do not have the required documents we will still consider your application. Please upload a note explaining what you need support with.
Please clearly label each document with a name and a short description of what it is.


New Beginnings: Resources and information for Groups working to welcome refugees

New Beginnings: Resources and information for Groups working to welcome refugees

General links to stakeholders websites:

Advocacy Network

A free service through the Refugee Network. Sign up for free ‘bitesize’ reports and briefings.

The Refugee Council Advocacy Network is a network of organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The aim of the Advocacy Network is to provide a direct link between the Refugee Council’s Advocacy Team and other organisations and is based on a principle of information sharing and collective working to achieve positive policy change for refugees and asylum seekers.

Benefits of membership

There is no charge to join the Advocacy Network, and the Refugee Council will provide members with:

  • Quarterly statistics bulletins.
  • Detailed policy briefings.
  • Summaries of recent parliamentary activity.
  • Parliamentary briefings.
  • Campaign updates.
  • Invitations to attend events to share information and updates on policy developments.

In return, we will ask members to:

  • Provide Refugee Council with information about issues affecting the refugees and asylum seekers they work with.
  • Provide case studies on current policy issues where appropriate.
  • Keep Refugee Council updated on actions they have taken to change policy and practice.
  • Support Refugee Council campaigns.

How to join

If you would like to join the Refugee Council Advocacy Network, please complete the form here


Paul Hamlyn Resources:

Helping young people with irregular immigration status

Advice about law for young people

Routes to regularisation for people without legal status in the UK (2013)

Including Youth – lessons from the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Fund

Art and refugees

“The research found that arts projects have had a beneficial impact on building positive relationships between the host community and refugees and asylum seekers. This was observed both in economically deprived urban areas, such as North Glasgow and in less deprived areas that have received fewer asylum seekers, such as Warwickshire.”

Advise for organisations wanting to ‘generate goodwill around asylum.’

Barrow Cadbury Resources:

General list

How to Talk about Immigration



Lloyds Bank Foundation Resources:
Issues faced by small expert frontline charities:


Scottish Refugee Council / Comic Relief Resources:

Raising Refugee women’s voices

Holistic Integration Service

Welcoming Refugees into your community – one of many blogs on this website

Children and Young People Resources:

NSPCC Safe Network standards – Safeguarding children in the voluntary and community sector – as recommended by Children in Need
Safe Network Core Standards
Self-assessment tool

Safeguarding for trustees:
It’s important that Trustees understand the importance of safeguarding and that they have ultimate responsibility for safeguarding in their organisation

Refugee Support Network: Educational Inclusion – I Just want to study:

Inclusion through art:

Children’s experience of detention centres

Children’s experience of border control

Red Cross Resources

Positive Images toolkit –