The British Red Cross in Luton has received £499,080 in lottery funding to expand a project supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Luton and Essex.
Alongside support with immediate basic needs such as sleeping bags, food parcels and temporary accommodation, people will be offered social activities, peer support, volunteering opportunities, help with applying for support from local authorities and familiarisation tours of the local area.
The group, based on Dunstable Road, will work with the local community and media to promote positive messages about refugees and asylum seekers.
There are an estimated 126,000 refugees living in the UK according to figures from the British Red Cross, just 0.19 per cent of the total population of the UK (64.1 million people).
Worldwide, 60million people have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict.
Close to £4.2 million from the Big Lottery Fund will be shared amongst organisations in the East of England including projects in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
The funding will support local organisations to help improve their local communities and the lives of people most in need.