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Spotlight 2019: the story so far

4Wings group holding a session in Liverpool

In 2019, the Trust created the Spotlight Fund to support organisations in the North of England working with refugees and asylum seekers in the region. 

The creation of ‘Spotlight’ followed two years of listening to, and learning from, the complex issues faced by refugees and asylum seekers. Although the OCT had already committed some funds to organisations in this sector, it was clear that many more groups offering meaningful support had very limited resources and little external profile. 

As a Trust, our expertise and networks weren’t enough to allow us to navigate the issues that we wanted to act on. But we knew that the high levels of need were undeniable, and urgent. 

It’s our belief that solutions to complex problems often spring from the experience and creativity of those closest to the problems, and that this creativity and experience should guide us. That’s why we set up Spotlight.

As a small team, we knew that we needed to be realistic as well as ambitious. We needed our approach and process to be designed to be as accessible as possible to all communities, and to reach a diverse sector. We wanted to learn how we could uncover the ideas and solutions that could deliver truly meaningful results, through demonstrable impact, engagement with small grassroots organisations, and ensuring that we were accessible and open-minded. 

In this, its first round, the Spotlight Fund has helped ten organisations – see below. It has allowed them to raise awareness beyond their community; create community cohesion and integration; provide access to food, clothing, accommodation, community and safety;  offer mental and emotional health support. Much of the work specifically supports women; because women who are supported to be resilient, empowered and productive can have a powerful ripple effect on families and communities.

Creating a nurturing community was a priority for all of the groups we encountered, with inclusion, care, and kindness at their core. Many of the organisations offer self-help support and drop-in groups for their members, looking to connect those who had had similar experiences, and using their strengths as part of a toolkit for recovery and progression.

Through the Spotlight Fund, the Trust has been able to deliver a functional, effective new opportunity for an under-resourced group, reaching organisations and issues we wouldn’t have done through our standard practice.  We are in close communication with this first round of organisations and will share learning from this process with the sector. 

Organisations receiving funding support through the Spotlight Fund: