Asylum welfare group wins Big Lottery Fund grant

Mathew Little

A new charity providing free legal advice to asylum seekers has been given a £235,000 grant by the Big Lottery Fund, after four years of struggling to find funds.

The Asylum Support Appeals Project will represent destitute asylum seekers appealing against the withdrawal of support by the National Asylum Support Service.

It has been founded by a consortium including the Refugee Council, Asylum Aid and Advice UK.

The grant covers salaries, recruitment costs, training and office equipment.

The grant will be observed with interest by those questioning how willing the Big Lottery Fund will be to support unpopular and minority groups.

The momentum for the creation of the Big Lottery Fund began with objections by the Government to a £340,000 grant to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns.

Maurice Wren, co-ordinator of Asylum Aid, said: "The fund should be judged on deeds not words, because the words have been quite opaque."

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