In 2014 Islamic Relief launched its domestic projects programme with three main objectives:

  • Engage in and support UK crisis response initiatives
  • Promote and facilitate the development of young people and their families
  • Combat the social, cultural and economic challenges faced by women

Additionally, Islamic Relief strives to build resilience to poverty inside the UK and shape positives attitudes towards change within local communities and the wider society.

Engage in and support UK crisis response initiatives

Grenfell Tower fire response

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in west London in June, Islamic Relief responded immediately by sending a team to assist and support the local community and the authorities working on the ground. Our staff and volunteers distributed 6,000 bottles of water and clothes within the hour and remained there as the tragedy unfolded, providing the necessary help and support to survivors and local people.

Islamic Relief also made funds available from the Global Emergency Fund to help those affected by this disaster, based on the need on the ground.

Live appeals in partnership with leading Muslim charities here in the UK were also held, raising tens of thousands to support the relief efforts.

York and Cumbria floods response

When floods hit the county of Cumbria and the city of York in 2015, Islamic Relief volunteer teams from across the UK teamed up with local organisations to support those affected. Volunteers worked tirelessly to fill thousands of sandbags and provide vital protection to homes at high risk of flooding in York. In Cumbria, where the flooding affected many homes and left families stranded without necessary supplies, we supported local efforts to distribute food and household goods, and helped families clean up their homes when the floodwater receded.

As a member of local resilience forums around the UK, Islamic Relief remains on call, committed to helping people in their hour of need, whenever that need may arise.

Promote and facilitate the development of young people and their families

Supporting refugees and asylum seekers

Government legislation prohibits individuals seeking asylum in the UK from working, but they do receive some living expenses while their cases are being processed. But after their transport costs are deducted, some asylum seekers are left with as little as £2 a day for food and expenses.

This is why we’re supporting The Bike Project – an innovative project that aims to provide financial assistance to asylum seekers living in London by providing them with bicycles, saving them money on transport costs that leaves them with more to spend on other necessities.

Approachable Parenting

Approachable parenting is a practical eight-week programme for parents of children aged four to eleven years of age in low-income or single-parent families. It aims to:

  • Provide practical guidance to Muslim parents on raising their children
  • Draws upon both psychological and Islamic principles
  • Gives parents concrete tools that will enhance their parenting and also be consistent with their values

Delivered by experienced and professional licensed trainers, the programme creates a therapeutic atmosphere where parents can explore their own parenting techniques within a religious context. By using a range of learning methods including group discussions, role play and demonstration, skills are developed in sessions which are then encouraged to be practiced at home.

Helping children at risk of destitution

Since 2015, we’ve partnered with The Children’s Society to help reduce the number of children and young people at risk of becoming destitute due to their immigration status.

We helped them find safe and secure accommodation and financial support, as well as ensuring they receive one-to-one support in the form of weekly free drop-in advice sessions from the OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner).

The programme, now in its third phase, has already supported hundreds of children and will continue to support more children this year.

Combat challenges faced by women

Future Skills project: Vocational training, mentoring and support for disadvantaged women to access work

Unemployed women living in poverty constantly face challenges to find secure and appropriately paid employment.

Following a successful pilot of the Future Skills project in Manchester, Islamic Relief is working in partnership with Oxfam to expand the initiative across the UK. The next phase of this project, which will be delivered in London, is designed to up-skill refugee and migrant women who are in real need of work to support themselves and their families.

The Future Skills project will include:

  • A tailored volunteer placement in an Oxfam shop for a minimum of eight hours per week for six months
  • In-shop training on retail management, customer service, inventory control and other skills transferable beyond the retail sector
  • Mentoring by qualified independent mentors
  • Personal development and employability workshops
  • Peer-to-peer networking and support
  • Assistance to overcome barriers to engagement in the project, for example, the provision of child care
  • Support to progress into employment

Combating domestic abuse

Last year Islamic Relief started a 12-week programme to support women who had fled from marital violence and domestic abuse. The programme sought to help these women to boost their emotional strength, self-image and understanding in order to rebuild their lives and have a fresh start. The women were also offered one-to-one mentoring support and peer reviews to help them to build a sense of camaraderie.

Distributing Qurbani in the UK

UK Qurbani Pilot Hailed A Big Success

In 2016, we launched our UK Qurbani programme to provide Qurbani meat to individuals across the country who are struggling financially. Hundreds of Qurbanis were donated to Islamic Relief, enabling us to reach thousands of people in need. Through partnership with National Zakat Foundation (NZF) and FareShare we distribute Qurbani meat to individual households and to care homes, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

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