You are cordially invited to a complimentary
REFUGEE FILM SHOW
Films about the refugee experience
All Saints Church PO1 4BT
Provisionally (but church not yet booked)
Monday 23rd April 2018
after a short Annual General Meeting
There will be a buffet supper and an opportunity to meet other supporters after the main meeting.
“Early on Friday evening 19th January 2018 we received the fantastic news from the Home Office that the cut off date to the ‘Dubs’ Scheme has been lifted. This means that our Government will have no excuse not to fill the hundreds of remaining spaces.
“However, until Friday, child refugees could only be accepted under the scheme if they had arrived in Europe before 20th March 2016. This arbitrary and bitterly unfair cut-off date left some of the most at-risk and vulnerable refugees in Europe without any hope of help.
“As time wore on many eligible children were either disappearing or making their way elsewhere. And all the while thousands more child refugees arrived in Europe, not eligible for the scheme and just as vulnerable.
“Now these children will be considered for protection in Britain.
“Our Government would not have changed their mind without pressure from people like you. By campaigning together and persistently, we’ve won the Home Office over.
“This change of tack from Amber Rudd will mean that the Safe Passage field teams can help many more of the at-risk children they meet very day. With your help we’ll get those remaining Dubs kids here, quickly. Thank you.
Senior Campaigns Organiser, Safe Passage
Friends Without Borders does not normally have to help unaccompanied refugee children as they are cared for by Social Services but we are always available if needed and always interested to hear what is happening.
An American supporter contacted us recently as she’d received an invoice for $2,467 attached to one of these newsletters. It was NOT from us - it was an attempted fraud. Please note we never send invoices to our supporters and only very occasionally make special appeals. Our supporter did the right thing – if you’re in any doubt please get in touch personally before you act.
ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Frances writes: "Our most successful case so far was a victim of domestic violence. She was traumatised and had no real hope that her situation would improve. She was abandoned by her parents as a child and had no home country to return to safely. She was so overwhelmed when she got the news that she could stay in the UK with her children that she ran around the building, laughing one minute, crying the next. We brought hope to that family and they are now able to live a life free from fear."
Charles writes: "We have had some very good news in relation to several clients in recent weeks, though as the office opening hours are limited to one day a week this can lead to frustrating bottlenecks for clients. There is nothing to be done about this at the moment though due to the absence of supervisory capacity. "
He adds: 'One of our Access to Justice clients recently received some good news about his leave to remain status from the Home Office after a very long wait. We would like to thank Stephen Morgan MP and his team for their assistance in chasing this up and speeding up the process. Penny Mordaunt's office have also provided valuable assistance to another of our clients recently. It is hugely helpful for the work we do to have responsive and efficient local MPs, so a sincere thank you to them from us for their support.'
Michael writes: It would be wonderful to get a volunteer with a background in immigration law to expand the service.
It is sad to have to tell you that our wonderful computer man, John Cozens, died peacefully at home on 18th December at 59.
John was extremely knowledgeable and very generous with his time. He updated and serviced all our computers in 2016 as part of the GRAIL programme. We shall miss him for his expertise but also for himself – one of those supporters who was never very high profile, didn’t come to meetings or sign petitions, but quietly gave invaluable help.
We were recently invited to run a university seminar for a small group of students who have signed up to a unit “People on the move: migration and borders”. We were asked to speak about the work of our charity, which I did for a few minutes before handing over to three asylum seekers who each spoke very movingly about their own experience of the British system.
Afterwards all those who were able went along to a coffee shop where there was a lot of informal information exchange. A good morning - and very enlightening for the students .
Our Treasurer keeps a record of all the “regular” donations each month, and all the “one off” ones. We of course rely on donations to keep a number of our clients so these are very important figures.
I’m delighted to report that our Regular Donations (with gift aid) reached a record in December at nearly £1,800. It’s classed as Regular because it comes in each month and is the backbone of our finance. However there are also various “One-offs” particularly at Christmas time and this Christmas we broke the £2,500 barrier and set a record there too.
The one-offs are always high in December - which allows us to do some nice things for the clients (a Christmas Party and Christmas presents) and also builds up our reserves a bit for the following year.
A warm “Thank you” to all who contributed. The volunteers of course contribute all year round – giving their services free. Friends Without Borders has no paid staff and last year gave a record amount to destitute asylum seekers.
CHICHESTER EVENTS FOR YOUR DIARY
Again in 2018 there will be a day long vigil for Refugee Week in Chichester Cathedral.
Strictly speaking this is not a Friends Without Borders event as Friends Without Borders is a secular charity: it is being organised privately by me as Chairman and also by the Chairman of Sanctuary in Chichester, Roger Pask. The date this year is Monday 18th June, during Refugee Week. All are welcome to join us in the Lady Chapel for silent prayer for as long or as little as they wish.
Also in June, on Saturday 2nd, there will be an evening of Poetry and Music at St Paul’s Church in Chichester, in aid of Friends Without Borders and Sanctuary in Chichester.
DROP-IN NUMBERS DOWN A BIT
We’ve noticed a bit of a fall in numbers of people attending the drop-in in recent weeks though not been able to identify quite why.
The Red Cross is no longer collecting food from Costco, which is a long drive and quite difficult to organise and that may be the reason. (Unfortunately we are told that Costco will only deal with the Red Cross so our volunteers can’t help).
A dilemma for charities like ours is that we don’t know whether to be glad or sorry about a fall in numbers! There has been no overt change in the dispersal system which sends asylum seekers to Portsmouth, my personal guess is that numbers will pick up again soon.
Thursday 8 March 7pm at Aspire Ryde PO33 2BN for a special screening of Sue Clayton's film CALAIS CHILDREN. Sue’s an independent film maker - in 2016 she made a film inspired by the events of the camp at Calais being disbanded - following the fate of the children for over a year after it was closed down and out of the news.
Recently she won the London Best independent documentary award. Sue will be present for the screening and happy to take any questions later.
We are currently talking to Sue about us organising a similar event in Portsmouth and will keep you posted.