The future of Migrant and Refugee Community Organisations (MRCOs)

London Funders reports

London Funders attended this important event at the GLA last week, which sought to address the impact of funding cuts on Migrant and Refugee Community Organisations (MRCOs). A warm welcome from Micheline Safi Ngongo, Chair of Islington Refugee Forum was followed by an overview of new policies and the localism agenda from Matthew West, Policy Adviser at the Department for Communities and Local Government. 

Zrinka Bralo, Executive Director, Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum (MRCF) spoke of the need for equality to be built into all commissioning frameworks.

Mulat Haregot, Director, Evelyn Oldfield Unit introduced their latest report, The State of the Sector which details the increasing pressures facing MRCOs to be sustainable. Six priorties are also identified by the report including support in governance, promoting self-reliance and developing second-tier partnerships. 

Funders' views came courtesy of Jenny Field, Deputy Chief Grants Officer, the City Bridge Trust and Mark Brangywn, Head of Community Services, London Councils. Jenny gave an overview of her Trust,  the largest grantmaking trust in London (£16 million a year), with MRCOs’ concerns a priority for funding in the Bridging Communities programme, funding around “trauma” amongst refugee and asylum seekers and capacity building through their Strengthening the Third Sector programme. Jenny urged organisations to consider applying to the Trust for core costs and for existing projects. She also spoke about other new streams of funding and suggested organisations join up to NCVO’s Funding Central website. Jenny argued that MRCOs should be are in a good position to deliver contracted services. 

Mark focused on opportunities for MRCOs; recruiting apprentices to build capacity, collaborative working between organisations, terminating unsuccessful projects and celebrating achievements.

Key thoughts from the day:

  • Collaboration on measuring impact between funders and funded organisations: shadowing organisations for a day, etc.
  • The need for capacity building if organisations are to be able to respond to government agendas.
  • The need for MRCOs to work together; share their learning and be confident in their activity.    

London Funders hopes to be able to follow-up on some of the areas for action with the GLA which hosted the event. A full report from the GLA will be available shortly.