A specialist housing association has successfully bid for £1m from the ‘tampon tax’ which will now fund a series of projects aimed at migrants and refugees coming to the UK.
Arhag Housing Association has been handed the seven-figure taxpayer windfall by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, following a successful application for funding from £15m raised in taxes on tampons. The Tampon Tax Fund exists because under European Union rules the government must charge VAT on women’s sanitary products – money raised through the tax goes into a fund to support women’s organisations.
The landlord plans to use the money to spearhead a series of projects for BME women, including education, employment and helping females to escape gender-based violence. It also said its intention was to move beyond housing to offer a range of services with partners to migrants and refugees in the UK.
“This is vital funding which will ensure that the next stage of our plans to expand services to vulnerable migrants and refugees in the capital will begin on a very stable financial footing,” said Arhag chief executive Cedric Boston.
“The cumulative impact of changes to taxes, benefits and public spending on services since 2010 has had a disproportionate effect on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women, especially as it compounds with already existing structural inequalities.”
The £1m will also be used to “provide pathways to integration” and successful participation in economic life and “foster engagement and participation” in civic life.
Arhag says it is an independent BME organisation which gives “stability and security to vulnerable refugees and migrants in London by providing support and housing so that they can achieve independence and an equal opportunity in life”.
The work will be carried out by Arhag and its partners including social enterprise Olmec, which runs its award-winning RISE into Employment scheme, Doctors of the World, Migrants’ Rights Network, Praxis Community Projects and IKWRO, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation.
BME National, a network of over 60 BME housing associations operating across England, also supports the project and will facilitate access to its residents and local communities to enable the delivery of service user engagement programme as well as the exchange of good practice.
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