Thank you to the lovely students at John Masefield High School in Ledbury. Their teacher, Colin, just gave me these lovely SNUG bags to take to people Calais. The weather has turned so cold. It is unimaginable how people there, without shelter or suitable clothing must be suffering. ... See MoreSee Less
SANCTUARY IN PARLIAMENT, NOVEMBER 28th 2017 Sue and Ruth from Malvern Welcomes attended this event. To find out more about it, read this letter to our MP, Harriett Baldwin. Dear Harriett Baldwin MP, Yesterday, we attended the Sanctuary in Parliament event, sponsored by Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West) and found it a most interesting and moving day. The theme was ‘Dignity not destitution: ending poverty and homelessness in the asylum system’. We heard from The Red Cross; Refugee Action; City of Sanctuary and NACCOM (No accommodation Network) as well as asylum applicants and refugees who spoke about their very difficult experiences in the UK. The day ended with poems read by primary school children from Rippon and a beautiful small children’s choir – Sussex Syrian Community Group. We were sorry that you were not able to meet us there. I will not go into too much detail, but relate to you the outcome requests: The Right to Work – research shows that people do not choose to come to the UK as asylum seekers or refugees because they see it as a place for work (or benefits) – these are not a ‘pull factor’ as so often stated. They come either because of family links; because of the English language or close associations between UK and their country of origin and, of course, because they have had to flee their country due to war or persecution. However, they come with hopes and dreams, which are often dashed. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work and are therefore forced into dependency. Our economy looses out on the skills and experience people bring with them. As a result, asylum seekers become bored; suffer from lack of self-esteem and experience mental health problems. If people are allowed to work surely it will help with integration and reduce the cost of the asylum support system. The request is that permission to work should be granted to any person seeking asylum who has waited for longer than six months for a decision. That permission should no longer be limited to jobs on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List.
Reduction of poverty – many people coming to the UK find that they are escaping war only to experience poverty. An Asylum Seeker has to live on £36.95 a week. That might be possible for a very short period of time, however at the end of June 2017 it is known that more than 10,000 people had been waiting for more than 6 months for a decision- many for a much longer time. People seeking asylum are forced into poverty, with associated negative impacts on health, wellbeing and mental health. The request is that there should be a significant increase in the weekly payments to asylum seekers – to at least 70% of the current income support rate.
Destitution- currently there is major flaw in the system for people who have been granted asylum. Once being given refugee status they have 28 days before having to leave the asylum accommodation- the ‘move on period’. It takes longer than this to arrange a national insurance number, bank account, find accommodation and arrange benefits/work. Many find themselves destitute at this stage. Significant resources in both statutory and voluntary organisations are currently taken up providing urgent assistance to refugees who have had their support cut off or who have already become destitute. The request is for the ‘move on’ period to be extended from 28 to 50 days.
I would very much appreciate it if you could support these requests by communicating them to the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; and to raise these requests when the new Immigration Bill is discussed in Parliament. Yours sincerely , ... See MoreSee Less
I strongly recommend this lovely book. I have a few copies for sale at £10.00. If you would like one email info@malvern wewlcomes.org The proceeds will go directly to the charity 'From Syria With Love' to support children of the Al Abrar refugee camp as well as others in Syria and Lebanon.close-up portrait of children caught up in the Syria conflict. It brings together poems, pictures and stories from young people living in a Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, alongside short story narratives and poetry by those who have worked with the children or been inspired by their stories. ... See MoreSee Less