New Beginnings Fund

‘New Beginnings’ is a national Fund to help refugees and asylum seekers feel welcome in UK communities by increasing community-based support.  Cambridgeshire Community Foundation is managing the distribution of the New Beginnings Fund in the East of England.

New Beginnings was set up by a consortium of funders to respond to the increasing demands on community groups because of the help they wish to offer to migrants arriving in the UK. 

New Beginnings has already had a successful ‘pilot’ stage elsewhere in the UK.  The pilot funded 45 groups (see case studies below from the first pilot). These were either refugee-led groups or local residents working to welcome refugees and asylum seekers. 

In this second phase, grants of £1,000 to £10,000 are available to small community groups.

Grants of up to £20,000 are available for partnership projects. A lead organisation needs to make the application.

Grants are for the duration of one year and projects must start after March 2017 and finish before the end of February 2018.

  • The funding is for projects that bring refugees and asylum seekers together with other people in the local community.
  • The funding is for community groups working in the UK.
  • Community groups can be refugee-led or not.
  • Existing partnership are welcome to apply. However, new partnerships in order to bid for New Beginnings are not encouraged.
  • Groups that work with asylum seeker children and young people are of interest. This might include unaccompanied children. 
  • The Fund is for projects and activities that bring people together.
  • The Fund is not to start new services.

Examples of projects the Fund is looking to support

  • 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. 
  • All projects should support human rights and equality.


  • Groups with income of more than £500,000 are not eligible.

Activities that will not be funded include:

  • Activities that receive statutory funding such as the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme or any other statutory funded activities. (Activities that include Syrian refugees are welcome, but New Beginnings is not for activities that are part of the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme).
  • Activities promoting party political activity.
  • Major capital costs (smaller items can be covered).
  • 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' Activities - projects seeking to share facts and figures about refugees and asylum seekers. Instead, the Fund is looking to support opportunities for local communities to meet and spend time with refugees and asylum seekers.

Eligibility criteria:

The Fund is open to:

  • Registered UK charities
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations
  • Community Interest Company
  • Constituted community and voluntary sector organisation

Groups that are not constituted, or an informal group or a collective should apply in partnership with an eligible organisation. The eligible organisation (s) must be part of delivering the project. The eligible organisation must manage the grant and the partnerships should be between refugee-led groups and other community groups. Please note that a partnership can be more than two groups – consortium bids are welcome. 

  • National organisations  must demonstrate strong local connections.

Applicants must have

  • a minimum of three committee members who are independent
  • a governing document (Constitution, Memorandum & Articles or Set of rules)
  • a bank account in the organisation’s name
  • up-to-date accounts or record of income and expenditure
  • a recent trustees annual report if you are a charity, unless you are a new group.
  • 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.
  • a Safeguarding Policy for Adults and one for children and young people if you work with young people
  • all staff, volunteers and trustees trained in safeguarding if you work with children and young people
  • an Equality Policy

Applications will be shortlised using the following priorities:

  • Small, local groups with an income of under £500,000.
  • 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 (Groups should 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. (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 (~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.