Syria Grant Fund

Syrian Resettlement Family


Due to funds being fully allocated, the Syria Grant Fund closed for new applications on Wednesday 24th October 2018. We are now processing all remaining applications and will be in touch with applicants and advisers by the 31st January 2019. From the 1st February 2019, the Syria Grant Fund will be closed.

Please note there is no guarantee that eligible applications received by the 24th October 2018 will be approved, as it depends on the number of applications received, as well as the amounts requested and awarded. Unfortunately we do not have capacity to respond to applications received after the 24th October.

Download a letter for applicants in English and Arabic confirming the closure of the grant fund.

If you are unable to download the letter, please email

There are other sources of funding related to employment and education; these include Restart Refugee SupportNational Zakat Foundation (for people of Muslim faith), and the Refugee Integration Loan. You may also find useful in searching for funding opportunities.

Receipts are to be emailed to or posted to Syria Grant Fund, Refugee Council, Exchange Brewery, 2 Bridge Street, Sheffield, S3 8NS.

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 Vulnerable Persons 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 an individual moving towards employment or education, for example clothing for an interview, fees to access a College Course, or childcare[1] costs to enable someone to attend a training course. The grant fund is not available to support with general integration needs such as paying bills, buying furniture and general clothing. The fund cannot 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 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, e.g. combined at-home ESOL, or costs to 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. Please note that individuals are eligible to apply to the fund for financial support, however this is not guaranteed, and if approved, the full request may not be granted. There are maximum amounts we can award for some items (e.g. school shoes), as well as a maximum number of items which are judged to be reasonable in the circumstances (e.g. 2 shirts for a work placement), in order to make it fair to everyone regardless of location and costs.

Driving costs can only be awarded if it is DIRECTLY related to finding work in the SHORT-TERM, and cannot be awarded for attending English classes or appointments.

We cannot cover driving costs if this is to look for work in the future, only if driving will increase someone’s chances of finding work in the short-term.

Driving costs can only be considered if the applicant is able to work (health-wise, caring responsibilities), and if they are actively looking for work.

Please note we need information as to WHY and HOW learning to drive will support the applicant and their search for employment, i.e. living in rural location, access to job opportunities, previous experience as a driver, aim to work as a driver etc.

[1] OFSTED/Care Inspectorate registered childcare providers only

Is there a maximum grant amount?

Individuals can make an application to cover costs of an item(s) up to a maximum value of £500. This is a maximum and may not be fully granted. 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, so they will not be able to apply again, even if their grant was less than £500. People can combine requests and apply in one, including 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 provider or Community Sponsor). 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 monitoring purposes.

Application forms must be signed by BOTH the applicant and provider and the ORIGINAL posted to: Francesca Morton, Refugee Council, Exchange Brewery, 2 Bridge Street, Sheffield, S3 8NS. We must receive hard copies of the forms, with original signatures.

How long will the application take?                                       

Once the Refugee Council receives a completed application, we will AIM to make a decision within 2 MONTHS. Please note this timeframe has changed from 1 month due to high demand. Applications are assessed in order of receipt. If information is missing (such as detail about request, VPR number etc.), this timeframe will be delayed. If we do not receive requested information within 2 months of a request the applications could be rejected. We do not have resources to acknowledge receipt of applications but feel free to contact us if you would like to check this.

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 your bank account. When applying for a grant, both you and the supporting organisation must sign to confirm what the money is needed for. You must sign to agree that the money will be used for the purpose specified. It is your responsibility to spend the money as intended. We may contact you to request receipts and to find out how the grant has helped you. If you do not use the money for the purpose approved, you will need to re-pay the grant.

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.

Individuals must keep hold of receipts for 3 months from the date that a grant is paid. We will contact a random sample of applicants to request receipts or other evidence of expenditure, i.e. booking confirmations. Exceptions are driving costs and 1:1 tuition, where we always require receipts to be posted or emailed to the Grants Coordinator within 3 months of payment. Responsibility for sending receipts sits with the applicant, and we will contact them direct about this, however any support you can offer to facilitate this process is much appreciated.

Where can I get further information and advice?

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

  • 0114 321 6387