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Tiny grants are making a huge difference in Stockport

Stockport Race Equality Partnership established the Purple Butterfly Fund to respond to the urgent needs of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and those with no recourse to public funds. The money raised by the fund is distributed as "tiny grants" (no more than £10) to enable people living in destitution to pay for essential items such as warm winter coats, bus tickets to vital appointments or healthy ingredients to cook with.

The Purple Butterfly Fund works in tandem with our core services including; support, advice, events, activities and resources that we provide week-in-week-out, designed and developed by the communities we work with. The Purple Butterfly Fund helps us to quickly adapt and react to new needs and crisis situations in the community. Aba Graham, Executive Director of S-REP describes a day in September when the S-REP team supported over 30 new asylum seekers who were in desperate need of help and guidance.

"I had to come out of a meeting because I was told that there were lots of people at The Space and over at Disability Stockport. As I arrived I was met with over 30 people, young and old. No one could speak English and they had walked the 45 minute journey from their hotel accommodation. They had received no advice or guidance on how to access our service. Unfortunately they wanted immigration advice, but came on a day when there were no staff available with this training. Nevertheless, we welcomed them in and provided drinks, sandwiches, fruits and gave them the spare clothes they needed.
These people would not need to struggle to express themselves if clear pathways and systems were readily in place. All the same, it ended well and they went back safely."

- Aba Graham

Sandwiches, fruit and crisps bought for the 30 asylum seekers who visited SREP in desperate need of help and support
Above: Sandwiches, fruit and crisps bought for the 30 Asylum Seekers who visited SREP

Last winter we saw our ethnically diverse communities, including refugees and asylum seekers, in Stockport face severe challenges due to the cost of living crisis. This year we know that these people we support will be challenged again to keep themselves and their families fed, warm and well. The festive period is an extra pressure on families to feel able to treat their loved ones and enter a new year feeling hopeful and resilient.

Like many organisations, Stockport Race Equality Partnership has also been directly challenged by the cost of living

crisis with a 30% increase in our electricity and gas bills. In addition the number of people we now support has increased significantly over the past few months with another 272 refugees and asylum seekers being placed in a hotel in Stockport.

We have had families visit us wearing shoes with worn through soles. Individuals who don't own a waterproof coat. Parents desperate to feed their children a decent, nutritious meal. People are left with little choice and faded hopes with the limited funds and options they receive as part of their Refugee or Asylum Seeker status.

The Purple Butterfly Fund is already making a huge difference and we thank everyone who is donating and helping to share the campaign. We wish you could share in the joy your donations are bringing to people. New shoes, new coats, nutritious food...all these small things provide so much and it's so easy for us to take it for granted when we have it so easily.

Above: A group of asylum seekers were able to buy new shoes, warm coats and clothes to prepare for the cold, wet months ahead in Stockport.
Above: A group of Asylum Seekers were able to buy new shoes, warm coats and clothes to prepare for the cold, wet months ahead in Stockport.

We can only begin to understand how difficult life must be for those who have been forced to flee their home countries - uprooted and now having to start a new life in a hotel room. Many families are sharing one room and there are no facilities for cooking. Although, thankfully, food is provided by the hotels these meals are often not culturally appropriate which has a big impact on mental wellbeing and nutrition. A few months back Maha shared her story with us after fleeing her home in Iraq and bravely helped us to understand how difficult it is to adapt and adjust after experiencing such trauma.

Over the next few months we are aiming to raise £10,000 for the Purple Butterfly Fund. You can donate via the link below. Any amount is gratefully received.

Thank you from all of us at Stockport Race Equality Partnership.

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