At Comic Relief we’ve always strongly believed that everyone should have a safe and secure place to call home. This may seem obvious, but it’s a human right that is denied to millions of people across the globe.
The reasons for a lack of A Safe Place To Be can be many - forced migration, homelessness, trafficking - but we are committed to supporting organisations that are driving change and helping people who are trying to rebuild their lives. Here are just some of the fantastic projects we fund in the UK and around the world that are working to make this a reality.
The Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile was established in 2008 when a group of human rights workers identified a series of unmet needs in young asylum seekers and refugees who had experienced extreme trauma in their lives
These young people had seen things that no young person should have to see, and in response the Baobab Centre was set up. Supported by Comic Relief, they work with young survivors aged 12-24, who arrived in the UK alone and have experienced extreme trauma in their lives. The centre helps young people understand and deal with their experiences and aid them in developing ways of coping with their trauma.
By offering a holistic and integrated long-term specialised service of therapeutic and practical support and advocacy, the aim is for every young person to develop a sense of belonging, begin to trust again, find their place in a new community in the UK and become more resilient.
Tackling homelessness from the top; Housing First are the ones who tackle the issue at a Government level. They work with the local and national UK Government to improve policies that impact people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
Housing First brings organisations together to try and tackle homelessness at varying stages. From the actual prevention of people losing their homes before it's too late, to ensuring that if you do unfortunately become homeless it’s for the shortest time possible.
They help provide for those with complex long-term problems, and finally support people once they are back in housing so they can avoid becoming homeless again.
Using their immense influence, Homeless Link are able to advise at some of the highest levels on best practices and strategies, and use their research to get a better understanding of the homelessness crisis.
For many people in the UK, the idea of being tortured or trafficked thousands of miles from home is unfathomable.
However, 24.9 million people around the world are estimated to have been trafficked into forced labour or sexual exploitation and over a quarter of refugees have suffered torture or extreme trauma. The Helen Bamber Foundation has extensive experience working with people who have lived through these terrifying experiences.
With funding from Comic Relief, the Helen Bamber Foundation offers a range of services that address the needs and vulnerabilities of survivors, including psychotherapy, counselling, legal advice and guidance, and physical and sexual health checks from volunteer GP doctors.
No one should ever have to experience the horrors of human trafficking or torture; it is a basic human right to have treatment and alleviation of suffering, the likes of which the Helen Bamber Foundation are thankfully able to offer.
4. Freedom Fund
It is estimated that in the region of 40.3 million people are victims of modern slavery around the world today. The Freedom Fund prides itself in being a global leader in the movement to end modern slavery.
Modern slavery comes in many different guises such as bonded labour, child labour, sexual exploitation, forced and child marriage, and forced prison labour. The Freedom Fund seek out and invest in the most effective frontline efforts to tackle, and eventually eradicate, modern slavery in the countries and industry sectors where it prevails.
With funding from Comic Relief, the Freedom Fund are working to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Nepal. They help to drive legal reform around modern slavery, ensuring that criminal justice is upheld, and build networks and partners across the world through an anti-slavery strategic litigation network.
Domestic abuse is a significant contributing factor for homelessness among women. In this knowledge, Comic Relief recognised that housing providers are ideally placed to spot abuse and respond to it, so we co-funded the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance.
It provides people who are experiencing domestic violence with legal and health services, as well as easy access to a new, safe home in social housing during their time of need.
The housing sector’s response to domestic abuse can be slow and time consuming, and often people experiencing domestic abuse don’t have the time to wait.The Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance was founded understanding how a more responsive housing service could make all the difference.
They are a partnership between three organisations that are driving change and tackling domestic abuse and housing globally - Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, Peabody Housing, and the Gentoo Group - and their mission is to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse through the introduction of an established set of standards and an accreditation process.
Coming to the UK as a refugee can be an incredibly daunting process. But luckily the British Refugee Council is on hand to help, offering practical support and advice to people throughout their journey.
People can face a very difficult, often dehumanising, process trying to navigate through the complex and hostile asylum system. However, the British Refugee Council helps those seeking asylum by offering assistance with documentation - especially when many refugees have lost all of their belongings - financial stability, health and wellbeing and, further down the line, access to safe and legal housing.
For 66 years the British Refugee Council has been a principled champion of a fair and humane asylum system. They aim to be an influential and effective advocate of refugee protection rights, as well as practically supporting and empowering refugees to lead safe, dignified and fulfilling lives. Comic Relief funding supports work across four key areas: Children’s Services, Integration services, Therapeutic Services, and Resettlement.
To learn more about what we fund under A Safe Place To Be, head to: comicrelief.com/what-we-do/safe-place-be.