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Change is

equality empowerment respect freedom overdue

Thank you for helping me start again. I feel like this is day one.

Saudi young woman who fled strict Guardianship
Next Change EventOur Philosophy


Our Mission

We believe in The Freedom to Be Who You Choose. Our purpose is to use creative solutions to realise a fair, compassionate, inclusive world for all.

Our Vision

Karmabank Change Lab (KCL) promotes social good through connecting influential bodies & locals to combat inequality and poverty together. KCL provides critical services to refugees & asylum seekers while also offering wellbeing support for locals & newcomers dealing with poverty, social exclusion, and disability.

130 million displaced (UNHCR): How to turn a negative into an economic benefit?

We helped an Afghan teen read music & sing for the first time onstage with London Youth Choirs


  • Despite our best efforts, people still fall through the gaps.
  • Overstretched care and local government services need support to design and deliver wellbeing solutions.
  • Refugees need help to successfully integrate, resettle and provide benefit to their new communities.
  • Vulnerable & marginalised Londoners need support to thrive in a city that is far from equally accessible or inclusive.

Current status in numbers:

“Fairly or very likely” 1 in 5 councils will become insolvent in the next 18 months.

Need for mental health support: “A tower of Jenga held together by sellotape”: Demand for mental health services has risen 22% over the last five years, but funding has dropped almost half a billion below need. Covid, the cost of living crisis, and rising poverty have fuelled increases in referrals for child protection, mental health help and family support. The rising cost of essentials contribute to stress and anxiety and limit people’s choices. Asylum seekers on less than £40/week, and no access to work or education, and refugees without any support other than basic benefits, are two of the highest risk categories.

Need for housing & homelessness support: English councils are spending £1.7bn a year funding emergency accommodation – more than any point in the last 25 years.  A combination of high house and rental prices, housing benefit cuts, shortages of social housing, the closure of Home Office-run hotels for Afghan refugees, and the end of the Homes for Ukraine scheme has created a perfect storm.

Need for food-, clothing-, and baby banks: London has the highest rate of poverty of any region in the UK, with more than a quarter (27%) of London residents (including migrants of all kinds) in poverty after housing costs

Working with partners to deliver change

Karmabank Change Lab (KCL)  designs and delivers multiple creative projects to support vulnerable new arrivals  – such as our LIFT Mentorship project – reframing refugees as contributing societal members. Notable initiatives include our  annual Appeeling Art competition that promotes healthy eating and family storytelling through art, and the RAW collective that enables refugee female artists to teach in schools, fulfil commissions, showcase their work, and lead art therapy workshops. We also design projects for groups & artists that ask for our support, such as the Drama for Healing project (for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery), public art installations for artists Maya Sanbar and Caroline Burraway; the Trojan Women Project, and Ukrainian refugee children at St. Mary’s Ukrainian School (Listen here to the recording we produced of their version of “Imagine”). 

“I was so happy to identify myself as a student - not just an asylum seeker - and to dream of when I can contribute to my new home”

Palestinian MSc Student, International Business

The tennis group made my girls so happy. They cried, hid under the bed. Now they are laughing and doing well at school.

Female Afghan Judge, evacuated from Kabul after death threats

Our Theory of Change

Our Vision

We believe in The Freedom to Be Who You Choose. Our purpose is to realise a fair, compassionate, inclusive world for all.

Our Mission

Karmabank Change Lab (KCL) promotes social good by linking influential bodies and locals to combat inequality and poverty. KCL provides critical services to refugees and asylum seekers while also offering wellbeing support for locals and newcomers dealing with poverty, social exclusion, and disability.

How we inspire change

  • Employment & professional assistance (CV writing, interview support, certifications)
  • Education (University & school access, ESOL, our Pickling Project)
  • Wellbeing activities (yoga, breathwork & art therapy)
  • Access to life essentials (food, school uniforms, tablets, baby items)
  • Inclusive physical activities (football, coached tennis, women’s swimming)

How we measure success

  • Bonding through “micro-communities”: New arrivals and residents gain improved confidence, skills, and community integration.
  • Professional success: New arrivals find satisfying employment and hope for the future.
  • Improved mental and physical health: Shared activities integrate new arrivals, refugees, and local residents.
  • Increased “Green” activities: Developing community resilience through more activities around food security.

How we realise our impact

  • Society overall improves through better designed and implemented solutions.
  • Our environment benefits from reduced carbon emissions thanks to projects like our Hastings community kitchen & food bank.
  • Everyone benefits from the beauty of successful, multicultural integration and from more accessible and inclusive activities and spaces.

The Big Issue, October 2022

Co-design with us!


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