Refugee Aid Organization Braces for More Funding Cuts

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January 18, 2012; Source: The Guardian | In a recent story that looks at the challenges that exist for refugee aid charities in the UK, the Guardian highlights Salusbury World, a 13-year-old organization based in a borough of London that provides support to children and families fleeing regions of conflict. In light of the severe government funding cuts to asylum support services that began last spring, the story reveals that the organization has put its five staff members on “rolling redundancy notice” and might soon need to modify the employment and benefit service support it has made available to parents.

As an example of the kinds of services that Salusbury World has provided to parents in the past, the story highlights Ayan Hassan, a Somali mother of three who, along with six other mothers, launched a successful catering cooperative, Spice Caravan, with startup support from Salusbury World. According to Spice Caravan’s Web site, the group of founders first cooked together to raise funds for school events but the “long queues” ultimately led them to consider going out on their own.

For broader context on what is happening at Salusbury World, the story notes that a forthcoming UK study on similar charities reveals “that around 70 percent of organizations have reduced their workforce and half of advice service providers expect to reduce or end services by April while 60 percent said demand for services had increased.” The story also relays findings from the UK’s Employability Forum, a charity that researches migration and employment trends, which found that “benefits, housing and employment” services have been most affected by recent cuts.

Like all nonprofits, Salusbury World relies on private support, and the story points out that it had success with an “emergency” fundraising campaign last July, which might be a hopeful sign. In spite of these many challenges, a recent posting on the organization’s Web site indicates a distinct note of optimism: “Difficult times lie ahead but we are delighted to have survived into our 13th year of operation and look forward to meeting many new challenges. We’ve started the year brilliantly with an article in the Guardian!”—Anne Eigeman