LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers supported through crisis and social isolation, thanks to National Lottery funding
- Micro Rainbow, an organisation providing services for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, has been awarded National Lottery funding for its Social Inclusion programme
- During the COVID-19 crisis, LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees are even more at risk of experiencing social isolation due to lack of social interaction in safe environments and limited access to technology
- The Social Inclusion programme for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees will offer one-to-one support, online mindfulness workshops and group pastoral care.
Micro Rainbow CIC, an organisation dedicated to supporting LGBTI* asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, has been awarded £10,000 in National Lottery funding for its new Social Inclusion programme, helping them cope with the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
Every year, over 1,700 LGBTI people seek safety in the UK, following experiences of violence and hostility because of their gender identity and/or sexuality or intersex status in the countries they have left.(1) Once here they often struggle with loneliness and isolation, due to rejection from their families and communities. This is compounded by limited access to technology, such as the internet, to help them stay connected and a lack of social interaction as they are often in environments that expose them to increased abuse and violence.(2)
Micro Rainbow’s new Social Inclusion programme, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, will now offer one-to-one support, online mindfulness workshops, group pastoral care and creative activities such as drawing classes, recognising that social distancing and the lockdown has exacerbated isolation within this community.
Vulnerable LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees will now also be offered mobile data top-ups and WIFI to help improve access to technology, again tackling increased loneliness experienced during the coronavirus crisis.
The news is being announced during Loneliness Awareness Week (15 – 19 June), an annual event to raise awareness of loneliness, break the stigma attached to it and encourage people to speak about the issue openly.
Sebastian Rocca, Founder and CEO at Micro Rainbow, says: “LGBTI asylum seekers in the UK often face extreme isolation, violence and homelessness. During the COVID pandemic they are even more isolated as they don’t have the support of their families and ethnic communities.
"They also don’t have the luxury of having unlimited mobile data or WIFI to stay connected with each other, be entertained or access key services. Thanks to support from The National Lottery Community Fund we are able to tackle the digital poverty that our clients face and to expand our vital work in providing online social inclusion activities to hundreds of LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees throughout the UK.”
The Social Inclusion programme builds on Micro Rainbow’s existing services where it provides a holistic approach to reducing homelessness, increasing safety and improving the social inclusion and employability skills of LGBTI asylum seekers. Previous funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, is being used to expand these support services in London and extend them across to Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff.
Helen Bushell, Head of Funding for the South of England at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Loneliness is affecting people from all walks of life in these difficult times. The incredible groups we fund, like Micro Rainbow, are a powerful force for good – supporting people to connect, reducing feelings of isolation and helping communities come together in new and inspiring ways.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to fund thousands of projects working in many different ways to help reduce loneliness and isolation in the UK. As we all adapt to profound changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling stigma around loneliness and making it okay to ask for help are more important than ever.”
Going forward, The National Lottery Community Fund will continue to prioritise getting funding to groups best placed to support their communities at this vital time and also towards those seeking to rebuild as the crisis abates.
The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded over half a billion pounds (£511.1 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK and supported over 12,000
projects to turn their great ideas into reality. 90% of the grants it makes are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities.
To find out more visit www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk