Refugee Women Connect

“When we arrived in Liverpool, it was cold and dark– we were placed in a leaking, small mouldy house which had slugs. I was so scared – and then I met Refugee Women Connect. I went, I registered and just felt an immediate sense of belonging. I was given clothes, bedding, support. I was like – my goodness! This is heaven.”

North West

Charity location

£75,000

Grant size

3 years

Funding period

Our partnership

Liverpool-based charity Refugee Women Connect works with female asylum seekers and refugees to improve their quality of life. By providing a safe all-female environment that offers practical, holistic and effective support, Refugee Women Connect supports its service users to improve their mental and physical health and access different services, enabling them to live independently and cope with life events, as well as feel able to integrate into society. 

Lloyds Bank Foundation funding of £75,000 over three years contributes towards the salary costs of a Family Support Worker. They support asylum-seeking and refugee women who have experienced traumatic events including trafficking, sexual violence, domestic violence and other human rights abuses.

Julia was one of the first women to be supported by Refugee Women Connect when she was displaced to Liverpool in 2004 after seeking asylum with her two small children.

“When we arrived in Liverpool, it was cold and dark – we were placed in a leaking, small mouldy house which had slugs. I was so scared – and then I met Refugee Women Connect. I went, I registered and just felt an immediate sense of belonging. I was given clothes, bedding, support. I was like – my goodness! This is heaven. They met weekly so I kept going. They put me in touch with a solicitor and eventually I was granted leave to remain by the Home Office.

After volunteering at Refugee Women Connect for two years helping women facing similar issues, Julia became a Trustee and started studying Social Work. In 2014 she became a Family Support Worker at Refugee Women Connect.

“I helped vulnerable women who often didn’t understand anything about what was happening so my support was wide-ranging – from accompanying them to court to applying for home country reports, running drop-ins and making home visits”

Service user Delight says Julia’s support changed her life:

“The way Julia talked to me and made me feel that there was more to life, all the bad feelings just left me. She gave me strength. All through my court case, Julia was there before me – from the first day to the last day. She was even there when my home was raided by immigration officers.

“Refugee Women Connect have been my whole support system, they’ve been with me through the hardest times. They rescued me.”

Ellen Kiely, Outreach Development Manager at Refugee Women Connect, says the charity’s model works because it is unique:

“We are a service, but we’re also a community. Women really need our support services – but they also need a friendly environment and to meet each other. That mix is unusual – we can offer both.”

Refugee Woman Connect CEO Alison Moore says her charity is operating in a difficult environment, so Lloyds Bank Foundation funding has been a lifeline:

“Demand has hugely increased – we’ve gone from supporting 171 women to 800 women in just three years.

“Lloyds Bank Foundation were the first big funder we secured after I joined and their support has helped us expand our services despite the tough climate. Long-term funding has meant we’re also no longer firefighting fundraising issues and can plan strategically, reviewing projects and exploring gaps.”

The charity has also benefitted from additional Enhance support from Lloyds Bank Foundation, including database consultancy and a Lloyds Banking Group Mentor. Alison said:

“Before our database support, we had used paper and excel which made reporting really difficult. Our new system’s so flexible – we use it for everything now.

“When we were first offered Enhance support I did think can’t you just give us the money? But actually, I’m so glad because it would’ve been gobbled up in our running costs. It’s nice to be given trusted consultants rather than having to identify these ourselves.”

Lloyds Bank Foundation were the first big funder we secured after I joined and their support has helped us expand our services despite the tough climate.

Alison Moore, CEO, Refugee Woman Connect

What do we mean by Asylum Seekers and Refugees?

A woman holds folded fabric in a store room

People who are seeking asylum in the UK or have been granted refugee status in the last two years.

Our Impact on Asylum Seekers and Refugees in 2018

£3.6m

in grants to charities helping refugees and asylum seekers

64

partnerships with charities supporting asylum seekers and refugees

2.5

years is the average length of our grants for Asylum Seeker and Refugee charities

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