The Big Give 2023

Until 5 December, your donation to Breaking Barriers could be DOUBLED!!

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Your donations were DOUBLED!! Thank you very much!

Thanks to your help, and through the Big Give we managed to raise £30,000 to help refugees in Manchester build new lives. Stay tuned for information about next years Big Give campaign.


Why we need your help 

Breaking Barriers welcomes refugees into work with one-to-one employment advice and guidance, education, and training. 

Refugees are 4x more likely to be unemployed and they face many barriers to employment, including:  

  • CV gaps due to lengthy asylum processes 
  • Lack of UK work experience
  • Limited understanding of the UK job market and no professional networks
  • Non-recognition of qualifications
  • Language barriers 
  • Cultural differences 
  • Public misconceptions and discrimination. 

Often, they face these barriers alone. That’s wrong, and it’s why we need your help.

Meet Mariam

Mariam* lives in Manchester. Her dream is to become a fantasy make-up artist – and she’s on her way to achieving it. Discover her story.  

*Name changed to protect her privacy  

Why Manchester?

In Manchester the problem is especially acute. Our research suggests that at least 17,000 people from a refugee background are living in the North West of England – the most outside of London.   

The refugees we support are aged 18-65+ and come from 52 different countries of origin including Iran, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan.

Since we started working in Manchester, 42% of the refugees we’ve supported were homeless when they enrolled and 83% were unemployed. That’s the highest rate of unemployment across the regions in which Breaking Barriers works. 

151 clients in Manchester have degree level education or higher, and 266 have 3+ years of work experience. But 359 are unemployed when they came to us, and 198 waited 3 or more years for refugee status.

In some areas of Manchester there are waiting lists of up to a year to enrol in English as a second or foreign language (ESOL) courses. 

The solution 

Your donation via the Big Give will help our dedicated team in Manchester support over 400 refugees with tailored 1:1 employment advice and guidance. 

This will be complemented by English and IT courses as well as workshops, paid placements, permanent jobs and mentoring through our corporate partners. 

To date in Manchester, we are proud to have supported refugees from 50+ countries to achieve 388 employment, education, volunteering and training outcomes. The huge diversity of people we support means that every day we see a myriad of new goals being set, and new dreams being achieved. From aspiring fantasy make-up artists to product engineers. 

Your donation will allow this vital work to continue, supporting refugees to find meaningful employment and build a new life.  

Don't just take our word for it...

Refugees in Manchester share their own stories about the impact employment support has had on their journey: