Responding to an urgent need presented by refugees arriving in Northern Ireland, The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has launched a new £75,000 fund with the intention of providing support for new arrivals and those in the process of trying to establish a new life in local communities here.
The New Beginnings Fund is now open for applications from local organisations and community groups working with and welcoming refugees to Northern Ireland with applications closing on 29th March 2016.
The Community Foundation also plans to develop further funding for refugees beyond the initial £75,000 ‘New Beginnings’ fund with the objective of creating support in Northern Ireland that is strategic, sustained and long-term.
Speaking about the New Beginnings Fund, Andrew McCracken, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation said: “We are delighted to be opening this new fund for refugees and hope that it can make a real difference to those trying to settle in Northern Ireland.
“Over the past few months we have seen an increase in initiatives in the wider community to help refugees. We are keen to boost this valuable work with strategic funding and would like to enhance the resources available by providing a centralised pot of money to which local organisations can apply for funding their work on the ground with refugees.
Andrew continued: “Additionally our objective is to increase awareness of the difficulties facing refugees and to raise further money to help people settle into the community in the longer term. Therefore we are beginning a dialogue with relevant organisations and local politicians to explore the current situation facing refugees here with a view to the Community Foundation providing a key hub of support.
“We would also be keen to hear from anyone who would like to find out more about how to support the fund itself,” said Andrew.
The New Beginnings Fund is part of a wider £525,000 fund launched by UK Community Foundations which is being administered by community foundations in seven areas across the UK.
The fund is aimed at small, local groups working with refugees with priority being given to groups with an income of less than £250,000. Applications for up to £10,000 for individual organisations will be considered and grants for up to £20,000 will be awarded for collaborative bids involving multiple local partners.
The initial £75,000 fund is intended to be used for new or existing activities that involve local communities in welcoming and supporting new arrivals. However it is expected that the fund will evolve beyond the initial round as the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland builds a longer term strategy which expands on the current available fund.
With regards to the current round, applications will be welcomed from projects which emphasise the value of integration and work with communities to become stronger and more connected.
To find out more about the New Beginnings Fund, please visit www.communityfoundationni.org or call 02890 245927.