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Project information

Meaningful Lives

Those awaiting asylum decisions often struggle with depression and isolation as they cannot work or access mainstream support. This inclusive programme of support empowers destitute asylum seekers/refugees to develop/share skills through activities/classes (e.g. English, IT, sewing and gardening).


Charity information: The Boaz Trust

The Boaz Trust logo
  • Need


    Once refused asylum, individuals cannot access higher education, training or employment because they have no recourse to public funds. For those who have come from highly skilled backgrounds, such as engineers, doctors or accountants, or those seeking to develop new skills (for example in English-speaking), life can quickly become boring and meaningless. Asylum seekers struggling with mental health problems can find such problems escalate if they lack community links/social networks.


    Individuals involved in ‘Meaningful Lives’ often report seeing improvements in their mental and physical health, such as improved confidence, self-esteem or fitness, as well as progression with their asylum claim as a result of accessing our support programme. The improvements in people's wellbeing that come from making friends, volunteering, employing new or existing skills, and having structure and purpose in the week, is genuinely life-transforming for many.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Service users have a greater sense of mental and physical wellbeing in their lives.


    » Weekly programme of activities provides structure and peer-support, enabling people to avoid isolation and boredom.
    » Volunteering/training opportunities enable service users to 'give back' to the local community, widen social networks and develop transferable skills.

    What success will look like

    Success will be 50% of Boaz service users engaging in the Meaningful Lives programme and reporting improvements in their mental and physical wellbeing.

    Aim 2

    Volunteering opportunities improve community relations among diverse groups.


    » Variety of volunteering opportunities available for service users, managed by support workers to ensure best fit.

    What success will look like

    Success will be at least 5 service users taking up new volunteering roles in the next year, and reporting having positive experiences in these roles.

    Aim 3

    Once granted refugee status, individuals are able to access education/employment/training.


    » Improvements in communication skills through attendance at English classes and other groups will improve chances of 'employability'.
    » Volunteering with other organisations/involvement in the wider community will develop effective time management and provide references for employers.

    What success will look like

    Success will be at least 5 refugee clients accessing employment/training/education in the next year.

  • Impact


    The project will improve the lives of many destitute asylum seekers in Greater Manchester, preventing further deterioration of mental and physical health for those with no recourse to public funds. We will demonstrate the success of this project by monitoring the number of individuals accessing classes/activities, and monitoring changes in wellbeing through regular reviews. For this we will use the New Economic Foundation's '5 Ways to Wellbeing', which are incorporated into activities already.


    There is a risk that individuals will disengage from the project at various times. Although improvements in mental/physical wellbeing may be achieved through the project, external factors such as asylum decisions will also have a big impact and such factors are beyond our control. The project has been established within a wider holistic programme of support, including legal advice, to ensure that individuals have as much stability and support as possible.


    Funders of this project will receive a quarterly update on the project, detailing ongoing and forthcoming activities as well as any changes. They will also receive feedback from service users on their experiences of the project. They will also be sent the annual report upon completion.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,500 Sewing classes Annual cost for weekly sewing class for service users including access costs.
      £2,000 ESOL classes Annual cost for 3 x weekly ESOL classes for service users, including access costs.
      £1,500 Resources Annual costs for resources for craft/art groups.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Comic Relief £600 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Boaz Trust is based in Manchester, with service users living in accommodation across Greater Manchester, including Salford, Moston, Longsight, Brunswick, Harpurhey and Rushholme. Manchester and Salford are local authorities with some of the highest proportion of deprivation in England, and Manchester is one of the top dispersal towns for asylum seekers across the UK. These two factors create ethnically diverse communities often with a range of economic and social problems.


    In addition to the asylum seekers and refugees who would benefit from the project (approx. 100 individuals per year), local communities and organisations would benefit from volunteer placements, and the local and regional economy would benefit from refugees being able to work and contribute to society in a range of ways. Local individuals/group also benefit from increased exposure to, and awareness of, the needs of destitute asylum seekers as they are educated and inspired to make a difference.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Since 2004 we have supported over 500 individuals across Greater Manchester, as the only provider of accommodation to destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Manchester. We are the largest provider in the UK and house over 100 people each year.

    The feedback from beneficiaries and other organisations demonstrates the unique and much-needed provision we offer, and our waiting list of over 80 individuals at any one time highlights the importance of our unique and over-subscribed work.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    The Team Of Boaz Staff And Volunteers

    The Boaz team of staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing individually-tailored programmes of support to everyone we work with.


funds a Meaningful Lives class each week

"I often have flashbacks of terrible things, but at the sewing class, it calms me to be with my friends and I feel much better when I am here.”