NACCOM project member Action Foundation has recently been announced as one of the winners of the Guardian Charity Award 2015. The charity is aiming to use the money to set up a new house to support asylum seekers in Wearside.

The charity already runs houses in Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland, and offers support to some 50 asylum seekers and refugees at a time from a variety of different countries. This includes English classes (through a separate project called Action Language), running costs for the houses, travel and other living expenses as well as support to help them overcome the trauma experienced and to find a longer term solution to their homelessness and claim for asylum.

Apart from the cash amount in the award, Action Foundation has also been promised a day of business support, an assessment to determine the next priorities for the organisation’s development, and a personalised package of communications training in media, marketing, and digital communications.

David Brindle, public services editor, the Guardian said,

“We were impressed by the great work Action Foundation were doing in supporting asylum seekers and refugees coming to the North East of England. They are clearly using innovative and creative ways of solving some very challenging problems and we wish them well as they seek to expand their work into Wearside.”

Julian Prior, CEO of Action Foundation, commented,

“Winning a Guardian Award is a huge encouragement to our staff and volunteers, who work so tirelessly supporting our clients. We know how many excellent charities have applied to such a prestigious national award scheme, so it is particularly meaningful to win this award in recognition of the work we have been doing for many years with some of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.”

He added,

“In the light of recent events it is clear that the demand for our services is only going to increase. We are currently developing a Hosting Scheme for local people interested in sharing their homes for a period of time to help with the expected influx of refugees, some of whom will be coming to the North East.”

The hosting scheme aims to support private arrangements between destitute asylum seekers and volunteer hosts, so that they can share their homes with new arrivals to the UK. An initial meeting held in Newcastle in September demonstrated a willingness by a number of potential hosts to offer rooms as and when the need arises. Any other volunteer hosts are invited to get in touch with Action Foundation for more details.

The charity is also recruiting three key posts at the moment, you can find out more about these here.