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£500,000 Windrush fund opens to bids

05 Jan 2021 News

Home Office

Credit: Fergus Burnett

Charities working with people affected by the Windrush scandal can apply for grants to spread awareness of a government compensation scheme.

The Windrush Community Fund will be managed by Voice4Change England (V4CE), and will make grants of up to £25,000 to charities, community groups and grassroots organisations.

Those grants can be used to raise levels of engagement with the government’s Windrush Scheme and Windrush Compensation Scheme.

The project is funded with £500,000 from the Home Office, although V4CE stressed that it is independent of government.

Notes on a scandal

The Windrush Scheme and Windrush Compensation Scheme were both set up by the government in the aftermath of the Windrush scandal, which saw hundreds of British citizens denied jobs and healthcare under strict new immigration rules intended to identify people living in the UK illegally.

The Windrush Scheme is designed to ensure British citizens and their families with links to former colonies have the documents they need to prove their right to live in the UK. The compensation scheme considers payments for individuals directly affected by the scandal.

The compensation scheme has been heavily criticised after it was revealed last month that only 1% of available money has so far been released to victims.

One charity working with the Windrush generation said that some compensation offers had been “appalling”.

Two phases of funding

V4CE said in a statement: “The fund has been set up in particular to encourage applications from those organisations that are led by affected communities or work mainly with affected communities.

"Affected communities are those that faced difficulties in demonstrating their lawful status in the UK, depending on when they arrived, and those who therefore suffered losses in proving their right to work, finding a place to live, accessing healthcare or some other impact.”

They added that the funding will be used to help charities and other groups “raise awareness of the Windrush schemes, and support engagement of victims of the Windrush scandal”. This could include outreach events within existing communities, the design and distribution of information about the schemes, and local communication campaigns.

Applications are invited in two phases, with the first phase closing on 12 February. V4CE says that it expects funding to be released to successful charities within eight weeks of application.

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