Unable to heat their homes, keep up with mortgages and rental payments or maintain a healthy varied diet, they’re struggling to support themselves and their families.

At Islamic Relief UK, we recognise the increasing needs of communities at home. We’re working with a range of national and local partners to reach the most vulnerable in the UK and build resilience against poverty to ensure that no one goes hungry, cold or neglected.

Give a Gift: Tackling Isolation and Building Capacity

Here in the UK, refugees and asylum seekers face a range of economic, social and cultural challenges to integration. For new arrivals especially, finding employment, building a social circle and adjusting to a new cultural environment can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re committed to supporting refugee and asylum-seeking communities across the UK to find their roots and flourish, ensuring that they have access to social communities and dedicated advice and support.

We’ve partnered with Give a Gift to support their work with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Communities (MEMEC), offering critical advice and signposting to refugee, asylum-seeking and vulnerable communities in Leeds in partnership with Positive Action For refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS). Through a weekly drop-in service, vulnerable men, women and children are offered key support to help them overcome a range of struggles.

We provide food, temporary accommodation and critical emotional support, including a safe place to socialise and interact with others from similar backgrounds. Offering day trips and activities such as arts and crafts and knitting, we’re helping individuals and families keep mentally and physically healthy, leaving behind trauma and emotional stress.

In addition to supporting refugees and asylum seekers, we’re also supporting homeless men in partnership with West Yorkshire Destitute Asylum Network (WYDAN). By offering practical advice and hosting a weekly social activity group at a local community café, homeless men have a safe space to share their experiences and find a listening ear amongst peers.

Just one of many people we’ve helped is Salim* who found himself increasingly isolated. Alhamdulillah, he now attends a men’s social group at a local community cafe which gives him an important opportunity to meet others and socialise.

What’s more, Salim is under the Grace Hosting project where he is provided with a roof over his head and a hot meal. He’s since been granted visitation to see his daughter because of the support Give a Gift provided him with masha’Allah. Salim is delighted with the support he’s received:

I want to be independent, by coming to the men’s social group, I can be myself and not be judged. Jazakallah khair to you all, without you I would not be able to see my daughter.” (Salim*, service user)

Insha’Allah, the service will continue to support Salim and many more vulnerable people in their time of need.

*Name has been changed to protect the individual’s identity

Find out more

Islamic Relief works with a range of partners to build resilience to poverty here in the UK. Find out more about our other UK progammes below:

Crisis: Creating Routes out of Homelessness

Islamic Relief has partnered with one of the UK’s largest charitable organisation supporting homeless populations in an increasingly vulnerable landscape. Supporting Crisisproject Routes of out Homelessness which will commence in February 2019, we’re working to assist homeless and vulnerably housed people in East London. Recognising the increased vulnerabilities of women without homes of their own, 25% of the people being supported in this project will be women in need of crucial support.

This scheme aims to improve their financial security and welfare of vulnerable people across Tower Hamlets by providing a range of key support including:

  • One-to-one progression coaching: Offering key support on areas such as interview techniques and task-focussed action planning
  • Learning for skills and employment: Providing training in a range of areas including ICT, literacy and ESOL
  • Mental health and wellbeing services to improve confidence and self-esteem: Hosting workshops and groups on key areas including anxiety, stress management and mindfulness
  • Employment services: Developing skills through CV writing assistance, arranging mock-interviews and providing advice on volunteering placements

The project assists people aged 16 and over through a self-referral system and both outreach and network-based partnerships with local social welfare organisations and hostels. By working across these core areas, young people and adults will be able to work their way into safer housing, employment and lead physically, socially, psychologically and economically safer and more prosperous lives.

Sufra NW London: St Raphael's Edible Garden

In the London borough of Brent, poverty is at an all-time high. On St. Raphael’s Estate for example, over 43% of children are affected by poverty, with the area holding some of the lowest levels of educational attainment.

With the wider impact of deprivation aggravating racial tensions and the area’s reputation for gang violence and anti-social behaviour, the community is suffering. That’s why Islamic Relief has teamed up with Sufra NW London and their newest project: St. Raphael’s Edible Food Garden. Working in the most deprived area of Brent, this food growing project provides an outdoor community space that invests in the skills development, employability, health and wellbeing of local people, whilst improving the appearance of the estate and challenging its notorious reputation for gang-related violence and anti-social behaviour.

Aiming to bring locals from financial crisis to economic stability and social inclusion, the project is working to create and maintain a landmark site to help:

  • Instil pride in the community and respect for the environment
  • Deliver a year-round programme of outdoor activities to encourage community cohesion and help build informal support networks
  • Improve health and wellbeing by reducing isolation and encouraging healthy eating
  • Create micro-businesses and employment opportunities for vulnerable people with little prospect of finding work in mainstream opportunities

The garden works to provide a critical regular supply of fresh fruit, vegetables, free range eggs, jam and honey for Sufra’s food bank and ensure that communities are better supported socially and economically through improved support networks and community bonding.

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