In this newsletter
Interview with Vanessa Faulkner of Marlow Refugee Action
Interview with Vanessa Faulkner
“Establishing a law centre in Samos is probably the thing that as a group I’m most proud of … From Marlow there are three young volunteers in their twenties who have done amazing things .. Just step out, be brave and do something …”
Listen here to some short items from an interview with Vanessa Faulkner, co-founder of Marlow Refugee Action. Hear what motivated her to get involved, highlights of Marlow Refugee Action’s activities, her reflections on the impacts of COVID-19, how local churches have become involved in Marlow Refugee Action’s work … and more.
The organisers of Refugee Week have produced a pack of Activities for Children and Young People.
Awareness-raising resources for schools, around refugees and children in migration, including video testimonials of young refugees now in the UK, have been produced by My Bright Kite.
Two Oxford Brookes Sanctuary Scholarships are offered to asylum seekers for 2020/21. Applications, accompanied by a referee supporting statement, can be submitted until 6th July 2020.
A new website, Refugee Action Good Practice, has information for organisations supporting refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. This includes practical guidance on best ways to make destitution payments during the pandemic and ways to prevent digital exclusion.
Particular problems experienced by refugees, asylum seekers and others at this time, and recommendations for the authorities, are highlighted in a report by Doctors of the World “An Unsafe Distance: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Excluded People in England”.
At the end of an article on integration, Sponsor Refugees gives links to six free online courses provided by various universities and the British Council, e.g. Working Supportively with Refugees, Migrants and refugees in Education, Refugees in the 21st Century.
A report by the Home Affairs Committee on the Home Office’s response to the impact of Covid-19 on the immigration and visa systems was published on 16th June. Further changes it recommends include the temporarily lifting of the No Recourse to Public Funds condition and the widening of the free visa extensions for NHS medical staff to all NHS employees and social care workers, as lower paid staff such as hospital porters are currently not eligible. The exemption of NHS staff and social care employees from the NHS surcharge announced on 21st May was welcomed, but this doctors and nurses report that they continue to have to pay it and are uncertain whether the payments will be refunded.
With the government announcing on 8th June that asylum support allowance would be increased by just £1.85 a week, 220 organisations wrote to the Home Secretary urging her to reconsider. You can add your name to the Refugee Council’s letter to the Home Secretary calling for immediate changes.
The Government’s position in Brexit negotiations with the EU, as shown in documents released in May, is that refugee children in Europe will not have the same rights of reunification with family in the UK as they currently do. Safe Passage is calling on people to sign a petition to the Home Office to keep reuniting child refugees with their families after Brexit, for this to be a mandatory obligation and the right to appeal protected.
As normal events are not possible at the moment, many refugee groups and charities have created some imaginative initiatives to raise awareness and funds, which you could try, e.g.
- Safe Passage suggests a Zoom dinner party
- Help Refugees is asking individuals to contribute sponsored miles towards the 24,901 target. “Around the World in 40 days” continues until 1st July.
- Refugee Support Network gives 10 Ways to Help Refugees in Lockdown. (Some are specific to London, but others are applicable more widely.)
- Charlbury Refugee Action is offering digital versions of their international recipe booklets for a donation.
- Marlow Refugee Action have a Relay for Refugees, Solidarity Sleepout, and Syrian Supper Night In.
We’re coming to the end of Refugee Week, a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. This year it is being held online, so there are still many events you can get involved with – see their events calendar. Join with Christians from across the UK for a National Refugee Prayer Hour on Saturday 20th June, World Refugee Day.
Wednesday 24th June – The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture – Mobility and immobility in the time of coronavirus: reflections from long-term study of migration and displacement (Refugee Studies Centre)
Wednesday 22nd July – Online Training For Church Refugee Workers – Rebuilding your team after lockdown (Welcome Churches)
The CCOW events calendar is updated regularly with events of interest on this and other topics. Take a look!
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