Relief Grants

Prisoners of Conscience makes grants for the relief or rehabilitation of anyone who falls inside its remit (see below for eligibility). The purpose of the grants can include:

  • Basic essentials such as food, clothing, toiletries and travel costs.
  • Basic furniture.
  • Counselling/Therapy sessions.
  • Medical needs.
  • Some vocational conversion courses such as PLAB and IELTS.

We do not help with under-graduate university fees (for post-graduate study please see our bursary grants), but can help with travel fares, books etc.

As a rule, we do not fund retrospectively. Anything which is believed to be truly important in the rehabilitation of the applicant will be considered.

Funds are not unlimited. For UK applicants for general hardship relief only (not bursary grants) we need to prioritise those with immediate and urgent needs. All applicants must satisfy our remit as a prisoner of conscience (see below).  

As a small charitable organisation with limited funds, it should also be noted that eligibility does not necessarily guarantee a successful outcome.  The final decision on any grant application will be made by the Trustees of the Fund and will be dependent on sufficient funds being available.

Who can apply for a relief grant?

The Fund makes grants to individuals (and/or their families) who are prisoners of conscience.  The definition of this is those who have suffered persecution for their conscientiously-held beliefs, provided they have not used or advocated violence or supported a violent organisation or have willingly served in the armed forces.  The fact that the applicant is seeking asylum or has been a victim of a civil war is not in itself sufficient.  A degree of personal persecution has to be established.

A recognised/approved agency should make the application on behalf of the individual or family.

Guideline amounts

The standard guidelines are:

Up to two people: £350
Three people: £400
Family of four or more: £500

In very exceptional circumstances, the Trustees will consider larger amounts. Applications must be filled in as fully as possible. If not, they will be returned.

Bursaries Fund

Grants from the Bursaries Fund are available to former prisoners of conscience to assist with tuition fee payments for post-graduate study or professional conversion courses in the UK. Applications are considered by our trustees on an annual basis.

**The next deadline is 31st May 2020 for course fees due from autumn 2020 onwards.**

Who can apply to the Bursaries Fund?

To be eligible for a grant from our Bursaries Fund applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

1. Applicants must be a prisoner of conscience, the definition of which is an individual who has suffered persecution for their conscientiously-held beliefs, provided they have not used or advocated violence or supported a violent organisation or have willingly served in the armed forces.  The fact that the applicant is seeking asylum or has been a victim of a civil war is not in itself sufficient.  A degree of personal persecution for a conscientious act has to be established.

2. Applicants must have previously completed an under-graduate degree, not necessarily in the UK.

3. Evidence must be provided of acceptance onto the post-graduate or conversion course at the time of application.

If successful, funding will be provided towards tuition fees for one academic year. A commitment for funding subsequent years cannot be given but applicants can re-apply to be considered again the following year.  No retrospective funding can be given.

As a small charitable organisation with limited funds, it should also be noted that eligibility does not necessarily guarantee a successful outcome.  The final decision on any grant application will be made by the Trustees of the Fund and will be dependent on sufficient funds being available.

These guidelines are intended to help. The final decision will be made by the Trustees and obviously depends on sufficient funds being available from Prisoners of Conscience.

Family reunions

Grants are available to prisoners of conscience who have the right to family reunion, to pay for related costs involved in bringing close dependants to join them in the UK.

We are aware that the British Red Cross and UNHCR-assisted travel programme came to an end on 31st December 2009.  While we appreciate that many individuals will be searching for funds for this purpose as a result, we can only consider those individuals who would satisfy our remit as a prisoner of conscience (see below for the definition).

Who can apply for a Family Reunion grant?

To be eligible for a Family Reunion grant, applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

1. Applicants must be a prisoner of conscience.  The definition of this is those who have suffered persecution for their conscientiously-held beliefs, provided they have not used or advocated violence or supported a violent organisation or have willingly served in the armed forces.  The fact that the applicant is seeking asylum or has been a victim of a civil war is not in itself sufficient.  A degree of personal persecution as a result of a conscientious act has to be established.

2. Applicants must have the right to family reunion and provide evidence of their relevant asylum status in the UK and authority to travel for their family members.

3. Evidence must be provided of flight and related costs requested for the family reunion.

As a small charitable organisation with limited funds, it should also be noted that eligibility does not necessarily guarantee a successful outcome.  The final decision on any grant application will be made by the Trustees of the Fund and will be dependent on sufficient funds being available.

If successful, and depending on funds available, part or full-funding will be offered.  Part-funding is usually only released once the applicant can provide evidence that the balance has been met from elsewhere.

It may take up to four months for a decision to be returned on family reunion cases.  Family Reunion applications are considered at any time.

No retrospective funding can be given.

If you would like to apply for a Family Reunion grant, please contact our Grants Officer on grantsofficer@prisonersofconscience.org.