Access to paid employment is one of the dimensions of socio-economic life which are critical in determining successful integration of internationally protected persons.

It is widely recognised that displacement of people poses challenges for both refugees themselves, but also for host countries tasked with resettlement and integration. This, however, if managed well offers more advantages for host societies than it creates problems. It is well documented that achieving economic self-reliance of resettled refugees as quickly as possible is crucial for unlocking this medium and long term potential. Achieving this, however, has been identified as the ‘greatest challenge’ by both refugees themselves and agencies supporting them, not least due to lack of resources.

Given the impetus to act on this very issue, the Restart Refugee Support (RRS) programme has as its primary goal to contribute to the rapid economic adjustment of refugees resettled in the UK. Our approach for achieving the above is through support of refugees’ own efforts to pursue livelihoods by utilising their existing productive capacities. For this to happen there are a number of obstacles that need to be overcome, where one important such is the lack of resources available to refugees needed to enable them to transition from home country to host country employment, be that funds for the purposes of labour market integration, or seed capital needed to restart or develop an existing business idea. Refugees have a long history of starting successful businesses in the UK. However, many still face barriers to accessing credit facilities due to the stringent requirements of the credit scoring system used for assessment of applications. 

We recognise the important roles refugee enterprise and engagement of professional refugees play in wider regeneration and community cohesion strategies and thus seek to provide such individuals with access to funds they need to restart their professional lives. Interventions such as microfinance over last few decades have proven to be one of the most effective strategies for improvement of vulnerable groups’ economic situation. Riding on these successes RRS employs a similar method, yet improving on it but offering loans free of any costs (including interest) to borrowers, with compassionate repayment terms. 

Although repayment is lenient and based on the mutual agreement by both parties, it is important to us as it ensures funds can be recycled and that we can sustain the programme by lending available funds many times over. 

 

About us

The Barry Family Foundation, registered charity 1155467

Registered address: 19 Newman Street London W1T 1PF

Data protection registered  e-mail: sjb@restartrefugeesupport.org

  

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