A year in the life of Islamic Relief UK
The year began with a VIP dinner featuring Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan and Alan Duncan MP, hosted by the broadcaster Mehdi Hasan, to highlight and debate humanitarian challenges in the Middle East.
It was a year in which innovative fundraising made its mark. Supporters were challenged to take part in three ‘winter survival camps’ to simulate and reflect on the experience of Syrian refugees – raising over £100,000 as we surpassed our £1 million fundraising target for the winter appeal period.
Another innovative idea, the Ramadan One Pound Challenge, raised £75,000 in just ten days. Online donations for the year reached a high of over £8.7 million, driven by increased use of short videos and eye-catching pop-up advertising. The Qurbani appeal income exceeded £2.1 million, 5% above target. A single live appeal on the Islam Channel on the Night of Power – the 27th night of Ramadan – raised an unprecedented £850,000 for refugees; more than double our target for all three live appeals this year.
Community fundraising and campaigning were spearheaded by thousands of volunteers across the UK. The volunteer- inspired Cakes4Syria campaign raised over £100,000, and exceeded all expectations by reaching nearly half a million pounds since it began three years ago. Charity Week raised a record £754,000 for orphans and children’s projects through the tireless work of volunteers at universities across the country and internationally. A pre-Ramadan national tour featuring Zain Bhikha raised £465,000 – enough to provide food packs to over 81,000 people driven from their homes by the Syrian conflict.
Islamic Relief UK played an active role in the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Nepal appeal and provided funds for the response to Ebola in West Africa, the refugee crises in the Mediterranean and Syria, and communities affected by conflict in Yemen.
One group of volunteers travelled to Paris with fellow campaigners from the Muslim Climate Action Network and Friends of the Earth to raise awareness on climate change in the run-up to the crucial UN summit. Action to curb the damaging impact of global warming on third world countries was imperative this year, alongside continuing efforts to highlight the impact of the Syrian conflict and the need to improve access and protection for humanitarian aid.
Another volunteer group helped families affected by flooding in the north of England in December; clearing flooded homes and bagging 80 tonnes of sand to prevent further damage. Islamic Relief provided a grant to the Cumbria Community Foundation to help families replace damaged furniture and other essentials.
Imran Madden, formerly head of the Humanitarian Department at Islamic Relief Worldwide, was appointed UK Director in succession to Jehangir Malik, who left the organisation after 23 years of distinguished service. One of Imran’s first public engagements was a fringe debate on the global refugee crisis. Co-organised by Islamic Relief and World Vision and held at the Labour and Conservative Party conferences, Imran spoke alongside DFID Minister, Desmond Swayne MP, and the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Mary Creagh MP.
Relationships with high-profile companies, mosques and trusts facilitated a broad range of partnerships and events. We are among the very first charities featured in the charity directory for the new Barclays Pingit app, and hosted an event on Islamic microfinance at the London offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The publisher Shade 7 donated a share of the profits from sales of its award-winning book. We staged a mosque tour in partnership with the London Qur’an Academy, and spoke at dinners organised by the Bromley Muslim Cultural Association and the Woking Business Forum.