You will have heard about the refugee humanitarian crisis which is currently sweeping Europe, in some way or another. More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015 to escape conflicts raging in their home countries. Almost daily, we hear of the appalling welfare and living conditions of those making temporary homes in camps across Europe.
Can social investment play a part in helping to provide long-term support for people who have been forced to leave their homes?
Last week, after continued pressure from both the public and politicians, David Cameron said the British government would now commit to take in more unaccompanied Syrian refugee children, although he did not state a number. This was not only welcome news for people campaigning for Britain to do more to help but this also works towards the government’s ‘moral responsibility’ and commitment to home 20,000 refugees by 2020.
This does raise the question however as to how the UK will cope with this increase in demand for housing and support. Whilst there are charities and social enterprises with the expertise of working with vulnerable groups, how can they best operate in the current challenging fiscal environment that the third sector and wider economy is facing? There would be an increased strain partly due to refugees and asylum seekers needing additional support in terms of mental well-being, housing and employment to integrate in the long term into the UK.
Whilst social investment is not the answer to solving the problem in its entirety, it has the potential to help finance additional resources. This will help alleviate the pressure on charities and social enterprises by proving an additional source of capital in an environment where funding is becoming more and more constrained.
How is CAN helping?
At a time when investment has become a distressing subject for charities and social enterprise, CAN has bucked the trend and has created both a £50m social investment fund and more recently £450k in support for post start up social ventures. As the Minister for Civil Society said in a recent visit to CAN Mezzanine, CAN’s support helps charities become “stronger, more sustainable and is helping us to build a stronger, more compassionate society.”
With this financial support, social investment CAN certainly go some way into assisting with the increasing refuges coming to Europe.