Refugee charity announces closure after 35 years due to ‘difficult giving landscape’

23 Apr 2024 News

International Refugee Trust logo

International Refugee Trust

A 35-year-old charity serving refugee communities around the world has announced that it will permanently close due to “a difficult giving landscape”. 

In a statement issued last week, the International Refugee Trust (IRT) said it had been unable to generate sufficient funds quickly enough to remain viable and decided to close. 

Since its establishment in 1989, IRT has worked with local partners in Jordan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda to support projects benefitting the most disadvantaged refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees. 

Accounts filed with the Charity Commission show that IRT has reported a deficit every year but one since 2019.

The charity relied on donations and legacies, which made up the majority of its £691,754 income for the year ending 31 March 2023.

Its expenditure amounted to £788,907 (2022: £500,509), leading to a deficit for the year of £97,153 (2022: £68,052). 

Covid-19 ‘severely hampered our fundraising efforts’

IRT said in its latest accounts that it continued to face challenges brought by Covid-19, adding that the virus “severely hampered our fundraising efforts” for the second year running.

“It’s with heavy hearts that we announce the closure of our charity after 35 years of serving refugee communities worldwide,” it wrote in a statement.

“This decision, taken on 8 April 2024, was reached after careful consideration of various factors, including changes in the macro-economic landscape which has created a more challenging fundraising environment for us.

“Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to refocus the charity, engage with the partners we work with, craft proposals to grant givers and try to attract new giving audiences whilst, at the same time, reducing our costs.

“However, in a difficult giving landscape, we have sadly not been able to generate enough funds quickly enough, and very reluctantly took the decision to close.”

‘Generous donations’ made ‘meaningful impact’

IRT added that donors’ “generous donations and volunteering” enabled it to make “a meaningful impact on the lives of countless individuals”. 

“Your support has provided life-saving assistance to orphaned children in Uganda, mothers and children in Jordan, Ukraine, and South Sudan, and many others who have been displaced and affected by conflict and crisis.

“While our journey now ends, we encourage you to continue supporting similar causes, as the needs of refugee communities in developing countries remain dire.”

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