Tag Archives: Asylum seekers

New website for the First Wednesday LGBT asylum seekers support and social group

First_Wednesday_rainbow_flag_vignetteThe preliminary work on the new website for the First Wednesday lgbt asylum seekers support and social group has been completed and the site has been launched at http://firstwednesday.lgbt

The website aims to be an information resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender asylum seekers in the Manchester area, and the content will be continually developed in line with the feedback we receive from new and existing members of the First Wednesday group, as well as from the partner organisations we work with.

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Short break in Windermere – Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th November 2014

windermere centre 07We are planning a trip to Windermere on Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th November 2014.

We aim to leave Manchester during Thursday afternoon, arrive at The Windermere Centre in time for dinner, settle into our rooms and have a quiet social evening at the Centre – perhaps with a game or two to help us relax together.

windermere_lakesideOn Friday, after breakfast, we hope to have a walk down to the lakeside in Bowness and then, after lunch, visit the lovely village of Cartmel.  We plan to watch a video together after dinner.

On Saturday we plan to visit the scenic town of Grange-over-Sands on the northern shores of Morecambe Bay, then in the afternoon we hope to visit the ruins of an ancient Abbey in Furness before making our way back to Manchester by early evening.

Dining-Room-ready-1030x772The trip is being organised, primarily, as a short break in the beauty of the Lake District for the asylum seekers who attend our First Wednesday support and social group, but we’re opening it up to anyone else who wants to come along, subject to availability of space at the Centre.  It is essential to book a place through Andy for anyone who wishes to come.

We suggest that the unsubsidised donation to The Windermere Centre should be in the region of £130 for the two nights’ dinner-bed-and-breakfast accommodation.  The rooms are all en suite, the food is wonderful, the staff are really looking forward to welcoming us, and the house is very cosy and comfortable – especially in the chill of a November night in South Lakeland.

Supporting the project

We’ve received a couple of donations to assist with the cost of the trip for the asylum seekers for which we’re very grateful.  We still need to cover costs for the visit to Furness Abbey, the minibus and diesel, and it would be nice to give some money to the Windermere Centre as a thank you for their generosity towards us.

If you can help to defray these costs please let Andy or Walt know (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk or treasurer@metropolitanchurch.org.uk).

‘First Wednesday’ Group – Trip to Llandudno – 7th August 2013

The next event for our LGBT asylum seekers group is on Wednesday, 7th August – meeting at 10.30am in the short-stay car park at Piccadilly Railway Station, in readiness for a day out to Llandudno and Conwy in North Wales.

To find the short-stay car park, from the main concourse with the trains in front of you:

  • turn right,
  • go down the escalators, turn right and down the next set of escalators,
  • and head outside towards the taxi rank.
  • Andy will be parked up, in a minibus, in the car park to the left of the taxis!.

5611000698_81716e0986_zWe will drive over to Llandudno on the North Wales coast – it’s about 2 hours away.  In Llandudno we can enjoy great views of the sea from the elegant promenade, have some lunch, walk down the pier (it’s a mile or so long and stretches out into the sea), and have a drive around the Great Orme (a huge headland which juts out into the sea).

7564867562_0247072324_nWe will then visit the ancient town of Conwy which has a castle and, if we like, we can walk around the walls of this historic place.

We will bring a packed lunch.

If you want to come please let Andy know – he needs to book a minibus!  Obviously there won’t be a meeting in church on that day!

Fund-raiser for Lesbian Immigration Support Group on 10th March to celebrate International Women’s Day 2012

Lesbian Immigration Support GroupThe Lesbian Immigration Support Group (LISG) is a Manchester-based group of lesbian and bisexual refugees and asylum-seeking women and their supporters, offering both practical and social support.

LISG will hold a fundraising event on March 10th at the Nip and Tipple Bar  in Whalley Range (197 Upper Chorlton Road, M16 0BH), between 3pm and 7pm, to celebrate International Women’s Day.

They are inviting all friends, supporters and people who are interested in the group, in women’s issues, LGBT and queer issues, migration, asylum, (no) border,  human rights and social justice issues to join them for this celebration.

The event will have live music bands, poetry, performance acts, good company, and many other surprises!

Support for refused asylum seekers

General banner_final

Refused asylum seekers left destitute in the UK

Background information

No doubt you will have heard or read reports about how the UK is meant to be a “soft touch” for asylum seekers. Yet, in reality, the level of support provided to asylum seekers is far lower than that of income support and is usually withdrawn altogether if a claim is refused. Many refused asylum seekers are, in fact, unable to return to their home countries due to the risks they would face because of, for example, armed conflicts, generalised violence and repressive regimes. As a result, many refused asylum seekers from countries where such problems are rife (including Zimbabwe, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Eritrea) are being forced into destitution, as they are not permitted to work here. To make matters worse, it appears as though this could be part of a deliberate strategy on the part of the UK Government. Certainly, this is the view of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which recently reviewed the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK and reached the following conclusion:

“We have been persuaded by the evidence that the Government has indeed been practising a deliberate policy of destitution of this highly vulnerable group.  We believe that the deliberate use of inhumane treatment is unacceptable.  We have seen instances in all cases where the Government’s treatment of asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers falls below the requirements of the common law of humanity and of international human rights law”.

In light of this, we are calling on you to support the Still Human Still Here Campaign, which is fully endorsed by Amnesty International and many other reputable organisations (http://stillhumanstillhere.wordpress.com/).

The Still Human Still Here Campaign

The Still Human Still Here Campaign is dedicated to highlighting the plight of tens of thousands of refused asylum seekers who are destitute in the UK.

Supporters of the campaign believe that the denial of any means of subsistence to refused asylum seekers as a matter of government policy is both inhumane and ineffective.

Its supporters are calling on the Government to:

  • End the threat and use of destitution as a tool of Government policy against refused asylum seekers 
  • Continue financial support and accommodation to refused asylum seekers as provided during the asylum process and grant permission to work until such a time as they have left the UK or have been granted leave to remain
  • Continue to provide full access to health care and education throughout the same period

What can I do?

We are asking you to write to your local MP in order to highlight the issue and ask for his or her support. Please feel free to use the model letter below (preferably adapting it, where possible) for this purpose. If you don’t know who your MP is, you can find out at www.theyworkforyou.com. Then, all you need to do is send your letter (addressed to your own MP) to:

House of Commons
London
SW1 0AA

If you receive a reply from your MP, please send a copy to The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA

***START OF MODEL LETTER***
Dear …..

I am writing to you because I am extremely concerned about the plight of tens of thousands of refused asylum seekers within the UK.

As you are no doubt already aware, under current rules the vast majority of refused asylum seekers are not entitled to any form of financial support. However, you also need to know that due to the fact that many of these refused asylum seekers are unable to return to their home countries for perfectly legitimate reasons and are also forbidden from working under UK law, they are being forced into destitution. The “lucky ones” manage to survive thanks to the charity of other people, yet others end up begging or working as prostitutes.

Many of those who have been refused asylum are from countries where conflict, violence and human rights violations are rife, including for example places such as Zimbabwe, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea. Fearing for their lives, these refused asylum seekers are unable to return home, but at the same time are unable to achieve any quality of life here in the UK because of the restrictions imposed on them.

What is even more worrying about this situation is the conclusion recently reached by the Joint Committee on Human Rights while reviewing the treatment of asylum seekers within the UK:

“We have been persuaded by the evidence that the Government has indeed been practising a deliberate policy of destitution of this highly vulnerable group.  We believe that the deliberate use of inhumane treatment is unacceptable.  We have seen instances in all cases where the Government’s treatment of asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers falls below the requirements of the common law of humanity and of international human rights law”.

I firmly believe that the current system is inhumane, unjust and inefficient and am therefore calling on you as my local MP to help end the destitution of refused asylum seekers by raising this issue with the Home Secretary and urging her department to:

  • End the threat and use of destitution as a tool of Government policy against refused asylum seekers 
  • Continue financial support and accommodation to refused asylum seekers as provided during the asylum process and grant permission to work until such a time as they have left the UK or have been granted leave to remain
  • Continue to provide full access to health care and education throughout the same period

Yours sincerely,

 

***END OF MODEL LETTER***