SMALL charities and faith-based groups are struggling to meet the needs of rising numbers of destitute migrant children and families, according to a report by Oxford researchers.

The report, published by Oxford University's Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, warns that the organisations are facing a lack of capacity in the face of overwhelming demand.

The report reads: “The policy environment has contributed to this dynamic, with migrants increasingly restricted from accessing mainstream benefits, thus relying more and more on the voluntary sector, communities and local authorities for support; and at the same time funding for local authorities and for voluntary sector organisations has dwindled."

The report added that in addition to increased numbers of migrants living in the UK, their entitlements to welfare benefits have reduced, meaning that they are increasingly reliant on voluntary sector organisations, communities and local authorities for basic support.

Researchers carried out interviews and focus groups with representatives of 51 voluntary sector and faith-based organisations and funding bodies.

They found that almost all participants providing destitution support for migrants said that their organisations could not meet demand for their services.

One organisation in London was described as having queues outside its door from 6am.

Report author Jonathan Price said: "Small charities and faith groups are stepping in to provide vital support to destitute children and families such as housing, food and clothing as well as help accessing services.

"Often they are having to provide this help with little or no financial assistance from the state, whilst negotiating complex and frequently changing legal contexts, and situations where children and adults are at risk."