Last year the report of the government’s Commission on Integration and Cohesion recommended that Single Group Funding (ie funding for organisations working with a single cultural, religious, ethnic or gender group) ‘should be the exception rather than the rule for both Government and external funders’ (p406).
However, many organisations, including refugee community organisations (RCOs), insist that it makes sense for them to work with a single group and that this approach benefits community cohesion.
Though this argument has been supported by a High Court ruling last month against Ealing Council’s funding cuts for Southall Black Sisters, as Clare Goff reports on the New Start website, many RCOs still face an uncertain future.
The Iraqi Association has lost almost half of its funding in the last few years in what director Jabbar Hasan claims is a shift away from single group refugee organisations by mainstream funders.
He has urged the government to look at the impact of the move away from single issue funding before it is too late.
‘The idea that single issue groups will not lead to cohesion is being adopted by others,’ he told New Start. ‘But every refugee group has unique needs. We share some issues such as migration and housing with other ethnic minority groups, but we also have projects for the elderly and youth and if these are not funded as Iraqi groups then they can’t be successful.’
He said funding streams were now moving from single issue groups towards mainstream organisations that support generic issues facing refugees.