VIGIL AND REFLECTIONS
Thank you to everyone who supported Roger Pask and me during our Vigil for Refugees in Chichester Cathedral. The day was a success, gaining as much, if not a little more, support than two years ago when we last had it there.
The “reflections” (short talks) were rather a success too and we shall be publishing some of them in due course. Many thanks to our volunteer Davey Butler who stood in at short notice when someone dropped out – thank you Davey.
As reported last time we’ve been able to raise our standard destitution payment from fifteen to twenty pounds a week.
We also pay transport to Fareham for all those who have to “sign on” at the Police Station there (the bus ticket is over £5). They used to sign on at Portsmouth Police Station in Winston Churchill Avenue but the venue was recently changed to Fareham for undisclosed reasons. There are no dispersed asylum seekers in Fareham and the Immigration Officers who supervise the signing are based in Portsmouth so the change in venue seems ill considered from both points of view.
We also pay for people to travel to Liverpool to make fresh claims. I always thought that asylum seekers were made to appear in person so they could be interviewed. I’ve now learnt that very few are interviewed – the requirement to present the papers in person is pure bureaucratic harassment. It costs us about £100 each time in fares as we are the ones who have to pay!
The result of all this spending is that our reserves are gently going down – no bad thing, people give us money to spend on the needy not to keep in the bank. However it’s a situation which has to be watched obviously, your Chairman isn’t worried but he is keeping an eye on things.
LORD LIEUTENANT VISIT
The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire dropped in to our Drop-in recently.
Lords Lieutenant are the Queen’s local representatives in the different counties and this one was very charming and interested.
Our supporter Bob Thomas successfully completed his walk from St Columba’s in Fareham to St Columba’s in Pont Street, just behind Harrods. We’re not sure exactly what he raised but it was over £750, perhaps £1,000.
Well done Bob – thank you!
AND THANK YOU TO THE Al MAHDI CENTRE, WESSEX JAMAAT
The Mosque presented us with a splendid food collection post-Ramadan. Thank you to everyone who contributed and to Sheikh Fazle Abbas for organising it all.
The food was collected and transported by Bob Thomas of St Columba back in harness after his walk. There’s enough to make up food bags for all our clients if the regular suppliers fail us for some reason.
AND THANK YOU TO THE MUSLIM BARBER
A gentleman who appeared one day with all his kit and spent a morning cutting our clients’ hair. Very unfussy and practical help: thank you!
“Refugees At Home” is a small charity that arranges altruistic hosting, over a limited period, for destitute asylum-seekers. They write:
"We have hosted for over 80,000 individual person nights and currently host some 150 guests across the UK.
We have recently received a referral for a refused asylum seeker from Sudan who has found himself street homeless while he prepares to submit a fresh claim.
Unfortunately, all of the prospective hosts we have in the area have now been asked and we have run out of options to pursue. Do you have any links in the area or ideas for who we might approach?”
I have come across Refugee at Home a number of times and been impressed by their efficiency and understanding of the needs of hosts. If anyone is interested could they contact Rachel Davenport: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very best wishes,