JOHN BINGHAM 1929-2017
Sadly, John died on 27th September after a short illness. He has been mentioned in this newsletter before and I recently circulated my speech at his retirement so there isn’t much more to say.
Perhaps I can leave the final words to one of our volunteers “John was such a role model for me. His clear mind, compassionate understanding of the rights and wrongs …. and all the legal procedures was an inspiration and a real help.” This very much states my own feelings – “clear mind, compassionate understanding, an inspiration and a real help”
Journeys Festival, organised by our partners Art Reach, is taking place in Portsmouth between 19th and 29th October. There’s an exciting programme of Theatre, Music and Fine Art events and discussions throughout the period and throughout the city. We would particularly draw your attention to the contribution of the Zimbabwean Majid Dhana, one of our “old boys”, who is artist in residence at Aspex Gallery PO1 3BF. There is a host of other good stuff so do look at the programme!
One World Week
By happy chance One World Week is taking place at the same time as Journeys Festival and their programme can be downloaded at http://www.campaign.exchange/campaigns/one-world-week-2017-good-neighbours/. They too have a host of good stuff, with a faith based slant and more likely to be hosted in church halls than commercial venues. But good stuff - do check out their programme as well!
STEPHEN MORGAN MP
Stephen was elected as the Labour MP for Portsmouth South in June, taking the seat from Conservative Flick Drummond and the majority from the Conservatives in Parliament.
We were delighted to welcome him to the drop-in on 28th September where he greeted a number of our clients and was photographed by many of them. Surprisingly, he came back the following Thursday to sit with a caseworker and see what sort of problems we tackle. I was not there myself but he was apparently visibly moved by what he heard. A good thing to see in an MP.
In our hunt for accommodation for failed asylum seekers “not eligible for public funds” I recently took two on a trip to Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. The monks were hospitable and wanted to know how they could help. Having consulted the two asylum seekers I suggested they might host one, the other not thinking he would fit in with a monastic lifestyle. We are still waiting to see what the Abbot thinks about this, and indeed what the asylum seeker will think if the Abbot agrees to host him.
One interesting thing which has come from this is advice from our Access to Justice team about accommodating failed asylum seekers. “[They don’t] have the right to rent and it will be illegal for them or the landlord to enter into a tenancy agreement. However, free board and lodging can be offered (or paid for by a third party, such as a charity). The address must be disclosed to Home Office or both will be in breach of their temporary admission conditions”.
In other words you can legally offer accommodation to a failed asylum seeker. Experience in Chichester seems to show that this works best when time scales are limited (two months with any one host, for example).
If anyone would be interested in hosting one of our clients for two months please get in touch with me. We would be strict about the two month rule however well the two of you get on. The scheme would be administered by the charity Refugee at Home.
We’ve recently been asked about donating clothes. These days we ask people to take clothes to the Red Cross Shop in Southsea: 41a Palmerstone Road, Southsea PO5 3QQ opposite John Lewis. They are the experts and can offer a better service than we do - so we give our clients vouchers to get what they need from there.
We do keep stocks of nappies and toiletries at All Saints and these are much appreciated.
The Red Cross now has a cycle repair project and welcomes donations of cycles in whatever condition to be repaired and given to clients.
We would also welcome donations of good quality cycle locks as these are expensive items but very much needed.
Any such donations (nappies/ toiletries/ babies clothes/ cycles/ cycle locks) should ideally be delivered during drop-in times - Monday and Thursday 10:00-12:30. The drop-in is at All Saints Church PO1 4BT
We are interested in finding more volunteers and have recently modified the procedure. Please email me if you’re interested and copy to Susan Adeyemo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Very best wishes to you all,
Chairman, Friends Without Borders