Investing in Early Action for Asylum

The Early Action Charter for People Seeking Asylum Programme has received over £850,000 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund, the UK’s largest funder of community activity, along with further investment by Refugee Action.

The England-wide programme will influence frontline delivery by transforming current ways of working and improve outcomes by helping people significantly earlier in their asylum journey, enabling them to understand the crisis points within the asylum system and how to avoid or de-escalate them. Over three years the project partners (Refugee Women Connect, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, Action Foundation, PAFRAS, Southwark Day Centre, Bristol Refugee Rights and Brushstrokes), will create an Early Action evidence base to support calls for change to prevent the crises that currently define the system.

Working in collaboration with researchers from the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (University of Birmingham) and the Institute for Community Research and Development (University of Wolverhampton), this is the first project of its kind and scale to evaluate the impact of Early Action within the asylum and migrant sector.

As members of the Early Action Task Force, Refugee Action are eager to collaborate with others, share learning and creative methods of tackling root causes, and find effective ways of measuring and evaluating impact across sectors.

If you would like to join forces and discuss ways of working together, please get in touch with the Good Practice and Partnerships Team at Refugee Action at

Prioritising Early Action

As mentioned in last month’s bulletin, in his first speech as the new Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock announced prevention as one of his three top priorities to sustain the UK health and social care system. Recent years have seen a rise in childhood obesity and poorer mental health, both of which are known to trigger long-term health conditions later in life. The UK’s ageing population has meant more people suffer from chronic health conditions and disabilities.

Hancock hopes to solve these problems and address the rise in emergency hospital admissions in recent years by integrating the NHS and wider social care services run by local government.  A green paper is due this autumn outlining this step towards Early Action in more detail. The long-term plan will look to:

1) Reduce the over-prescription of unsophisticated drugs in favour of approaches such as social prescribing that address physical and mental well-being.

2) Invest in primary care and community pharmacies so people don’t need to go to hospital.

3) Empower people to keep themselves healthier at home.
Early Action work for improved health has already started, with the Government investing £300m in their healthy ageing grand challenge to ensure people can enjoy an additional five years of life by 2035. Ageing Better UK have also recently announced their new strategy to help people enjoy their later years of life.

Transforming Mental Health

Former Minister of State for Care Services and Chair of Birmingham University’s Mental Health Commission, Paul Burstow announced the release of their report Investing in a Resilient Generation last month. In it, the Commission evaluates evidence to provide a strategic framework for the mental wellbeing of children and young people. The report advocates the use of Early Action to reduce stigma and build resilience to tackle the prevalence of mental health issues among young people. Read the full report here.

Early Action and Youth Violence

The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, published in April, emphasised Early Action to tackle the root causes of young people’s involvement with crime and violence. Following MP and Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd’s recent visit to Community Links to discuss youth violence, the Home Secretary announced last month the Early Intervention Youth Fund will be doubled from £11m to £22m. This is an effort to support communities in tackling rising crime rates and serious violence by engaging in Early Action programmes with young people.

Young people’s charity Redthread provide a great example of how this extra money could be used effectively. Their Youth Violence Intervention Programme runs in A&E departments to support young victims of violence. Read more about their successful work here.

Finally, the Big Lottery Fund have put together a summary to highlight practices that have proven what works in preventing serious youth violence. Read their full report here.
Warm wishes,

The Early Action Task Force