Research details

State of the migrant third sector

Author[s] Leeds Migration Partnership

Date 2014



The aim was to provide an evidence base to better inform and influence the strategic agenda of migrant third sector organisations in Leeds, through a collective articulation of the key facts about migrants in the city and the experiences of organisations working with them.


The main objective was to document the health of third sector organisations working with migrants in the city of Leeds and to promote awareness of the key issues facing them in the current climate.


Within this broad objective, secondary objectives were to provide a demographic context to migrant communities in Leeds, to map the number of third sector organisations providing services to them, to gather qualitative and quantitative data on their current status, and identify the key issues for the cohort as a whole. It was intended as a supplement to the Leeds Migration Partnership report.


The information contained within the report was derived from two methodologies. The first provides a demographic analysis of migrant communities in Leeds through demographic sources such as the 2011 Census data on ethnicity, country of birth, language and identity as well as geographical location within the Leeds conurbation.


The authors surveyed 40+ organisations in the Leeds area which were listed on a Leeds City Council database as working directly with migrants. The survey was carried out using a paper based questionnaire, which asked recipients about issues such as:


  • funding sources and turnover
  • long term sustainability
  • employees and volunteers
  • categories of service users
  • support needs

Respondents were asked to provide information on their status now, and in the last 5 years. The authors received 19 completed questionnaires. This process was complemented by desktop research on a larger cohort of 122 organisations with similar remits in the city. Their details were sourced from the same Leeds City Council database.


The survey and desktop research was carried out during October 2013.

Key issues

The analysis of the migrant population [section A] highlights that, like many other major cities in the UK, Leeds is experiencing rapid demographic change, partly driven by immigration. Using Census data, it shows that in the decade 2001-11, the number of residents born outside the UK nearly doubled, with the largest increase from Poland, although Pakistan remains the largest group numerically.


The assessment of the migrant third sector in Leeds [section B] concludes it is under significant pressure, due to major funding cuts from public sector sources and a notable decline in donations and fundraising, with funding applications subject to greater scrutiny and competition. This poses a serious risk to the majority of organisations – only 15% surveyed said they had financial security beyond April 2015.


Survey respondents noted that demand for support and assistance from migrants is increasing on third sector organisations, particularly in areas such as employability and skills.


The report identified a number of critical gaps in support. These were centred on advice, support and advocacy [including legal]; destitution; employment and skills; English language and interpreting/translation provision; health and mental health; housing and sector support. However, it also highlights the impact of changes to long term contracts, with national programmes ceasing, being re-commissioned for less, or mainstreamed.


The report concludes that significant gaps in services are likely to occur from December 2013 and may be critical by early 2015 as a direct result of reduced funding. This may include insufficient face to face advice services for particularly vulnerable migrants.

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