Comic Relief’s new £9.1 million UK fund to tackle homelessness, abuse & mental health

13th September 2021

Comic Relief logo in an array of colours

Twenty new initiatives launched to help tackle domestic abuse, early childhood development & forced migration

  • New Change Makers programme supporting thousands of vulnerable people over 5 years throughout the Covid-19 recovery

  • Twenty initiatives launched in partnership with 45 small charities and UK organisations

  • Programmes to tackle racial inequality, mental health, homelessness, forced migration, domestic abuse, and children’s early years development

  • For more information on Comic Relief funding visit in new window)

Comic Relief has today announced a brand-new £9.1 million programme to support new initiatives that will deliver vital long-term support to thousands of vulnerable people across the UK during the Covid-19 recovery.

The Change Makers programme is launching twenty new initiatives involving 45 organisations, spanning all four nations of the UK, over the next five years. They will tackle serious issues that have seen increased demand for help throughout the pandemic including homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health. The programme aims to find innovative solutions to problems affecting vulnerable people that have been overlooked or under-resourced at a local, regional and national level.

Projects include:

  • Empowering autistic adults to improve their mental wellbeing; Advonet, with Leeds Mind and the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership

  • Supporting young children in homes affected by domestic abuse; Women’s Aid Northern Ireland

  • Reducing shortages in nursery care for children with special education needs and disability; Dingley’s Promise

  • Tackling access to care and health inequalities experienced by homeless people; Groundswell, working with On Our Radar

  • Therapeutic support for young people and families who have experienced a traumatic loss through youth-led violence; Power The Fight

  • Supporting victims of modern slavery and human trafficking; Justice and Care

  • Supporting isolated women with their pregnancy and early childhood development; Women’s Health and Family Services

Funding to the Midaye Somali Development Network, in West London, will improve access to targeted services for migrant women, and challenge taboos surrounding mental health. The organisation is led by and for communities experiencing racial inequalities, a key priority of the programme.

Filsan Ali, Director of Midaye said: “Mental health problems are dangerously high among migrant women. They often carry deep scars of war, forced migration and female genital mutilation, combined with the strain of extreme poverty and isolation, experience of systemic racism, and fear for their children’s future. But acknowledging problems and seeking help are acts of great bravery, which come to nothing when services are inaccessible or inappropriate."

Funding to Wearside Women in Need, working in partnership with Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse, will increase understanding of domestic abuse within communities, and equip family members, friends and the wider community with the skills they need to actively support and protect victims. This will also improve reporting of domestic abuse, and the way services work with families, friends and communities so that lifesaving information can be shared effectively and acted upon to reduce harms and increase public confidence.

Samir Patel, CEO of Comic Relief, said: “It’s fantastic that through our new Change Makers programme we are able to support 20 ‘game changing’ projects that are working with thousands of vulnerable people and families throughout the UK. Each project aims to provide vital long-term support and make a real positive impact on communities hardest hit by the pandemic."

For more information on different Comic Relief funding opportunities visit in new window)



For more information please contact:

Comic Relief Media Team

020 7820 2500

The successful 20 initiatives to receive funding are:

  • Dingley’s Promise – awarded £545,789 to help tackle the challenges facing the childcare sector across the UK, and build the skills and confidence of nurseries to provide childcare that’s inclusive for all, including children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They aim to do this by training 10% of practitioners in the UK, and working with 30 local authorities to develop local strategies for inclusion, underpinned by widespread understanding and confidence in inclusive practice

  • Kinship – awarded £500,000 to influence policy and campaign for the rights of carers, ensuring kinship families in England and Wales can access support. This will mean better support for more children who will avoid going into the care system, and achieve better life outcomes

  • Women’s Aid Northern Ireland, and eight local Women’s Aid organisations across Northern Ireland – awarded £600,000 to support children up to age of five who experience domestic violence and abuse by developing a network of champions to advocate for children and their mums, train professionals to better understand their needs and work to shift policy and practice across Northern Ireland to help young children and mums survive and thrive

  • Women’s Health and Family Services and Ratio – awarded £317,798 to develop their Maternity Mates service in East London. Maternity Mates are volunteers who provide peer support to help isolated women through pregnancy, and the first weeks and months of their child’s life. They will expand their support to cover more aspects of early development during the baby’s first 18 months, helping mums to be more aware of their baby’s needs and get the right support so that more infants can have a better start in life

  • Southall Black Sisters with Angelou Centre, Latin American Women's Rights Service, Safety for Sisters and Ubuntu Women's Shelter – awarded £598,756 to assist women and children survivors of domestic abuse and other gender related violence to secure effective protection and fundamental human rights. Working across England, with local partner organisations, they will build a base of evidence for changes that are needed, and will work with women with lived experience to shift the narrative in communities, the public sector and parliament. In doing so, they will ensure migrant women with no recourse to public funds have better access to safety, protection, rights, subsistence, and support

  • Wearside Women In Need with Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse – awarded £500,000 to deliver direct services to victims of domestic abuse and their children. The women-led, specialist domestic abuse organisation works across Sunderland, Washington and the Coalfields areas. They will use their funding to empower families and friends who are trying to support victims of domestic abuse, creating support networks, and developing third-party reporting pathways for families and friends to secure help

  • Women’s Budget Group – specialises in high-quality research and briefings that apply a gender lens to economic policy. They have been awarded £500,000 to continue this work and also build the capacity of women and women’s groups across the country to participate in economic debates, helping them to use relevant data and advocate for just services

  • RECLAIM with Pankhurst Trust – from their base in Manchester, RECLAIM work to create a Britain where people from working-class backgrounds are proud of – and not held back by – their roots. They have partnered with the Pankhurst Trust, which fights to promote women’s equality and supports women at risk of domestic abuse. They have been awarded £334,620 to involve young working-class women in social movements and grass roots campaigning, to run campaigns on the issues most important to them, and secure policy and practice change

  • Justice and Care – awarded £252,563 to work with victims of modern slavery and human trafficking to bring their abusers to justice, provide wellbeing support and advice to victims, and dismantle criminal networks across the UK. They will deploy a specialist Organised Immigration Crime Navigator who will support Border Police and immigration partners at ports in Essex and Dover while they assess lorries and identify human trafficking victims, providing care and protection, supporting victims from further exploitation and from traffickers operating in the area

  • Centre for Knowledge Equity – awarded £459,994 to harness the leadership, collective energy and ingenuity of leaders with lived experience in the migrant and refugee sector to improve the lives of the communities they represent and serve by elevating their untapped leadership and wisdom

  • Ashley Community & Housing with Refuge, Asylum and Migration Policy Bristol – awarded £600,000 to support refugees in Bristol and beyond by helping to challenge some of the stigmas surrounding migrants and refugees, and influencing city-level and regional strategies that will lead to more successful integration

  • Scottish Refugee Council – awarded £300,000 to work with artists and activists from refugee and other migrant backgrounds, the arts and cultural sector in Scotland, and refugee organisations to help improve the integration of refugees and other migrants living in Scotland and improve cultural and social opportunities

  • Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group – awarded £188,338 to better understand people’s experiences of immigration removal centres in the UK, and document findings to influence policy makers

  • Advonet, with Leeds Mind and the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership – awarded £424,436 to support autistic adults in West Yorkshire with their mental health via support groups and access to key resources

  • Power The Fight – awarded £195,000 to develop a new model of therapeutic support for young people and families from communities facing racial inequality in London who are at risk of, or have experienced, a traumatic loss through youth-led violence

  • Midaye Somali Development Network – awarded £428,907 to support migrant women living in West London to access targeted mental health services. Funding will also help challenge the taboos surrounding mental health in the local community via training, counselling, and sharing best practices with similar organisations in the area

  • UK Youth, with The Diana Award and the Centre for Mental Health – awarded £600,000 to help improve the mental health support available to young people from communities facing racial inequality – who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – to ensure it best meets their needs

  • Groundswell, working with On Our Radar – awarded £597,451 to grow their citizen journalism work by giving more people with experience of homelessness the opportunity to share their experiences and influence how health services are designed and run, and contribute to their goal to tackle homeless health inequality

  • Housing Justice Cymru working with partners Tai Pawb, The Wallich, Welsh Refugee Council, and Oasis Cardiff – awarded £599,856 to support people seeking asylum in the UK by providing vital services such as legal support and safe housing in Wales. This will help migrants integrate into Welsh life, and prevent destitution and homelessness for people at high risk

  • Centre for Homelessness Impact – awarded £600,000 to support local councils and frontline organisations to tackle homelessness in their own area. What Works Communities will improve the available support for people who face the trauma and challenges of homelessness, help them find safe and secure housing, and rebuild their lives

About Comic Relief

Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humour and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems. For more information, please visit

Comic Relief, which is the operating name of Charity Projects, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)