Press release

Government makes public support for Syria go twice as far

UK commits to double all donations to UNICEF UK's Syria Winter Appeal until the end of February 2016.

Syrian boy. Picture: Karin Schembrucker/UNICEF

The UK will match all donations to UNICEF UK's Syria appeal in February 2016. Picture: Karin Schembrucker/UNICEF

On the eve of a major world conference on the Syria crisis, the British people will get the chance to play their part in transforming the lives of children caught up in the conflict, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

With world leaders gathering in London for the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference 2016 on 4 February, the UK government has given a major boost to public generosity by committing to double all donations to UNICEF UK’s Syria Winter Appeal until the end of the month.

The move recognises the level of public concern around the scale and duration of the conflict in Syria, which has now left more than 18 million people in desperate need of aid including 8 million children, and fuelled a migration crisis in Europe.

The UK was already matching donations to UNICEF UK’S Syria Winter Appeal, which has raised more than £3 million since it launched at the end of October, but that support was originally due to end tomorrow (31 January). This is the first time that an existing aid match programme has been extended in this way.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

Not only has the British Government been working closely with UNICEF to get Syrian kids into school, but the British public have been making generous donations to their appeal.

In fact, it’s been such an amazing response from the British people that we’ve decided to extend our match funding for another month. UNICEF is getting medicine, shelter, warm clothes and education to those who need it most and our support will help that work go twice as far.

This week world leaders will come together for a major summit on Syria here in the UK. The whole point of this conference is to make sure the rest of the world steps up and plays its part in responding to the crisis.

Together, we will send a clear message to the children of Syria that the world has not forgotten them.

UNICEF UK Ambassador Ewan McGregor said:

As the brutal war enters its sixth year, the violence has not ceased and the suffering experienced by children and their families has deepened.

A whole generation of children are being deprived of education and traumatised by the horrors of war. Increasingly they see their future shaped only by violence and bloodshed.

UNICEF works tirelessly to reach every vulnerable child – getting them back to school, giving them warm clothing, and providing psychosocial support. But they cannot do it alone and the need has never been so urgent. UNICEF is raising vital funds for the children of Syria and I’m grateful that the UK government will continue to match pound for pound everything raised during February.

As the spotlight shines on London next week, when world leaders come together to pledge money for this humanitarian crisis, the public can support the children of Syria by donating to UNICEF.

UNICEF is one of the few organisations working inside Syria, as well as delivering humanitarian aid across the region. Teams are working around the clock to deliver life-saving warm winter clothes and shoes to keep Syrian children safe and warm, as well as ensuring children’s emotional and social wellbeing comes first in an emergency by providing psychosocial support.

In October 2013, UNICEF became the first charity partner to receive match funding under a new initiative to reach Syrian children suffering as a result of the ongoing war.

The UK government has now matched all 3 of UNICEF UK’s most recent Syria appeals, which have raised around £9 million between them before match funding, including more than £3 million donated to the current appeal.

Notes to editors

  1. Since the start of the crisis, the UK has been at the forefront of the humanitarian response to the Syria crisis and has now pledged more than £1.1 billion in aid.
  2. To donate to UNICEF’s appeal, text SAFE to 78866 or donate at
  3. Texts cost £3 plus your standard network rate. By texting you consent to future telephone and SMS contact from Unicef. To opt out text NOCALL to 70007.
  4. On 4 February the UK will co-host with Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the UN, the Syria conference in London to tackle the challenges of funding, education and employment for Syrian refugees.
  5. For the latest updates visit or @SupportSyrians #SupportSyrians.
Published 30 January 2016