Syria Grant Fund

Syrian Resettlement Family

What is the Syria Grant Fund?

The Syria Grant Fund is a national fund to support and enable resettled refugees from Syria to access employment, training and education opportunities, as well as develop their English language skills. Funded by Goldman Sachs Gives, and administered by the Refugee Council, this fund will give resettled refugees from Syria access to vital resources to facilitate and enhance their integration into British life. Grants will be paid directly to individuals, and not to the organisations supporting them. The grant fund is open throughout the year and applications can be made at any time.

Goldman Sachs Gives is a philanthropic fund through which the firm's senior people recommend grants to non-profit organisations globally. Launched in 2010, Goldman Sachs Gives harnesses the collaborative spirit of philanthropy among senior leaders at the firm and furthers Goldman Sachs long-standing commitment to support the communities in which its people work and live. Since its founding, Goldman Sachs Gives has distributed more than $1.2 billion in grants, reaching 5,600 non-profits in 90 countries around the world that are fostering innovative ideas, solving economic and social issues, and enabling progress in underserved communities.

Why is this fund needed?

In September 2015, the British Government announced that 20,000 refugees from Syria would be resettled to the UK by 2020. Although refugees arriving through this programme have the right to work, they often face multiple barriers to accessing employment; including non-recognition of qualifications, lack of UK work experience, low levels of English, as well as practical barriers such as financing courses and paying for childcare. Refugee Council has been working with Goldman Sachs Gives to ensure individuals resettled from Syria receive direct support to enable them to have better opportunities in the UK.

Who can apply and what can they apply for?

Anyone who has been resettled to the UK under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme (VPR) - of any nationality - can apply to the grant for financial support to access employment, education or training opportunities; either for themselves and/or their families. The fund is also open to people wishing to improve their level of English to enable them to move closer to the labour market. Individuals resettled via the Community Sponsorship Scheme can also apply, but unfortunately the fund is not open to individuals from Syria who are not on the VPR programme, nor those on the Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Scheme. The grant fund is to meet the cost of specific items which relate to the individual moving towards employment or education, for example clothing for an interview, fees to access a College Course, or childcare costs (OFSTED/Care Inspectorate registered childcare providers only) to enable someone to attend a training course. The grant fund does not cover costs for any electronic equipment such as mobile phones, laptops or tablets. However the Fund can support an application for financing an IT course, to enable someone to improve their computer skills and search for work online. Each application is to be made by an individual aged 16 and over for their own use (and/or on behalf of ALL children in the household), and will be assessed on its own merit and paid direct to the applicant. Family members can make a joint application for the same thing, i.e. combined at-home ESOL, or costs to a start a new business. Individuals can pool resources to take up an opportunity, i.e. group employability sessions, however payment must be coordinated by the individuals/supporting organisation.

Is there a maximum grant amount?

Individuals can make an application to cover costs of items up to a maximum value of £500. In exceptional circumstances larger requests will be considered, e.g. professional re-qualification or specific equipment required to take up a job offer. Individuals can receive one grant only, however they can combine requests and apply retrospectively for eligible items, as long as receipts are provided.

How do people apply?

Applications must be submitted by the organisation supporting the individual, or who previously supported the individual, with their resettlement (VPR providers or Community Sponsor). If an organisation is contacted by a client whose support has ended and they are not delivering the 2-5 year support, please direct the individual to either the provider who is commissioned to run this service locally, or to the Grants Coordinator at the Refugee Council (on the below details). The supporting organisation will verify the identity of the individual and review the grant request before making the application, supporting the applicant to apply for an item that meets the grant eligibility criteria and is realistic, achievable and in line with their employment or education plan. Responsibility for using the money as stated sits with the applicant, not the organisation. The applicant will sign to agree to use the monies for the purpose stated, as well as indicate whether they consent to be contacted for evaluation purposes.

Please note that FULL DETAILS must be given for ALL grant requests, as well as an ITEMISED breakdown of costs, with details of where the person will buy the item and internet links, if applicable. For example '1:1 language tutor, 20 hours over 5 weeks, £15 per hour, total £300, ABC Language Company, ABC Street, London'. Requests for language support must be with a qualified ESOL/language teacher, and contact with the tutor/company will need to be evidenced.

Application forms must be signed by BOTH the applicant and provider and the ORIGINAL posted to: Francesca Morton, Grants Coordinator, Syria Grant Fund, Refugee Council, Exchange Brewery, 2 Bridge Street, Sheffield, S3 8NS.

How long will the application take?                                       

Once the Refugee Council receives a completed application, we will aim to make a decision within 1 month. Applications are assessed by an independent and impartial panel (separate from VPR advisers), to determine whether a grant application is successful. Decisions made by the assessment panel are final. Supporting organisations and applicants will each receive a letter via post to confirm the outcome, and if approved, we will then make the payment. If an application is unsuccessful, feedback will be provided and individuals have the right to apply 2 further times (1 successful application only). If you feel the request is urgent, for example interview clothing, there is an option to highlight this on the application form, but please make contact to discuss this. We cannot make any guarantees, but we will do our best to make the payment within a shorter timeframe.

How is the grant paid?

The grant will be paid directly into the applicant’s bank account. This will minimise delays and ensure that people do not miss an opportunity to move towards education or employment. Please note that we cannot make payments to third parties.

We reserve the right to use discretion when approving grants; in line with the Syria Grant Fund Eligibility, as well as the availability of funds.

Where can I get further information and advice?

Please contact Francesca Morton, Grants Coordinator, Refugee Council on:

  • 0114 321 6387

Project documents are available to download via the links below. If you would like to receive hard copies of the client flyers please get in touch on the above details.