BEARR’s origins

BEARR stands for ‘British Emergency Aid to Russia and the Republics’, which was its role when it was set up informally in 1991 by a group of British women in Moscow. They wanted to help to mitigate the catastrophic effects on health and welfare of the collapse of the USSR and the communist system. The group initially became involved in transporting lorry-loads of medical and other supplies as relief to hard-hit citizens.


As this emergency need lessened, BEARR was set up more formally as a Trust and started to support the NGOs which were beginning to be established in the successor countries. It offered training and cooperation with relevant NGOs in the UK, and ran various projects funded by western governmental and charitable organisations.

Over the next few years BEARR, at the request of its supporters, focused on its role as a networking organisation to facilitate links between the many small charities set up in the UK and elsewhere and the charitable and non-governmental sector in these countries.

BEARR today

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BEARR still concentrates on health and social welfare issues, especially the care of vulnerable groups and reform of the ways the state looks after them. The Trust is based in the UK and managed by trustees with long experience of the countries of the region. It has many partners among small and medium-sized voluntary and charitable organisations in the region.

The main focus of its work is:

  • supporting organisations committed to reform in the health and social sectors
  • facilitating networking and exchange of information
  • encouraging sharing of experience and learning
  • helping organisations working in the region to identify potential partners
  • providing seed funding to help organisations to launch or extend partnerships
  • lobbying with and on behalf of organisations that share our objectives.


The BEARR Trust’s aims and plans

BEARR’s Action Plan for 2020
Raise an additional £20,000 per annum, preferably on a multi-year basis
Maintain an active network of trustees, patrons and volunteers
Ensure that all volunteers have clear roles and feel supported by their managers
Ensure BEARR makes effective use of the possibilities offered by information technology and social media
Develop cooperation with the academic community in the UK and in the region, including through joint events
Organise the London Conference
Organise a workshop in Central Asia
Organise one or two public lectures
Issue six bi-monthly email newsletters and an online and printed annual report / almanac
Run a scheme offering small grants to civil society organisations and evaluate the 2019 Small Grants Scheme
Progress a project to evaluate the impact of Small Grants Scheme projects since 2007
Plan for a further Small Grants Scheme in 2021
Formulate BEARR’s objectives for 2021-2025


Aims for 2016 – 2020


  1. Ensure stable multi-year financing from multiple sources, including foundations, companies and individuals (the Friends Scheme).
  2. Maintain an adequate pool of competent volunteers.
  3. Develop and if possible expand the Small Grants Scheme, ensuring more rigorous monitoring and evaluation of projects.
  4. Expand networking activities, including by organising an annual workshop in BEARR’s region.
  5. Ensure that BEARR’s information technology, website and social media presence effectively and efficiently support our grant-making and networking activities.


December 2019