REPORT: A Perspective

Rapid review of emergency funding to the UK refugee and migration sector during COVID-19 (March – November 2020)

Migration Exchange

2021 has started with another lockdown and COVID-19 continues to shape every aspect of our lives. While the pandemic is ongoing, we feel it is essential to capture emerging data and insights and share these to inform our way forward. In this spirit, Migration Exchange is pleased to publish this rapid review of funding to the refugee and migration sector during the first six months of this crisis.

This report presents a mapping and analysis of emergency funding to the refugee and migration sector during COVID-19, focusing on the early phase of the pandemic from March – November 2020. The objective of this rapid review is to surface descriptive and early quantitative answers to key research questions on scale and type of independent and statutory funding, purpose and process of the funds, grant distribution across the UK, the size and focus of recipients, intersectionality of issues, gaps in data and knowledge, and legacy and learning from this period.

The emerging data reveals an estimated £19 million of new funding distributed to refugee and migration charities over this time, within a wider spend of around £30 million on this sector. Our comprehensive ‘Taking Stock’ report, published in April 2020, found that the combined annual income among core refugee and migration charities is around £117 million. So, this estimate seems likely to represent a significant short-term increase in financial support to this field. This funding has been delivered rapidly with changed funder practice, increased pooled funding and some significant investment in front line support.

2021 will be relentless, as resilience and energy wanes and the longer-term effects of isolation, poverty and inequality bite. This is a uniquely challenging context and one that demands a strategic and collaborative response from philanthropy, that is better coordinated and more accountable.

We hope that this report will provide a foundation for further thinking and reflection and a useful resource for those who are interested in improving philanthropy and developing practices that are more values based and equitable and driven by evidence, data and insight.



A Perspective – Full Report

A Perspective – Summary