Imagine you won the lottery!

This week has been Refugee Week 2020 and it has the theme of ‘Imagine’ – many of our volunteers have shared their thoughts on this theme.

When we entered lockdown three months ago, I could only imagine the thought of Refugee Action – Colchester being a properly funded organisation. At the time, we didn’t even have enough money in the bank for the following month’s rent. But a generous donation, and a number of successful grants have completely turned that around.

It started with the Forest School grant from Colchester Borough for £8000.

In April we applied for an Essex Community Fund grant, and received £3600.

In May the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group recognised our excellent mental health outreach work and paid us an initial £12,700 with the promise of more if we needed it.

In May we also signed an agreement with a local legal firm who are paying us £7000 per year for the next three years, and £500 for a specific fundraising initiative.

And finally, just this week we signed an agreement for six months funding from the National Lottery for just over £52,000.

It really feels as though we did win the lottery. We can now pay a proper full-time wage to two caseworkers – desperately needed as our client numbers grow every week. This funding is now guaranteed for nine months. We will also be buying laptops for a number of our clients to help with their education. We have more funds now available for destitution payments.

Whilst this is all great news, much of this money is committed to specific projects, so we still need to remain focused on fundraising to ensure we continue to have flexibility in meeting the everchanging needs of our clients. We have already generated over £250 from our T-shirt sales and will continue to pursue fundraising activities from our always generous supporters.

Imagine you won the lottery – we did!