Tag Archives: donation

‘Smartie tube’ collection for Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit going well

We have collected over £460 so far from our Lenten Smartie tube fundraiser for the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU).  If you still have a tube to return to church, or wish to make a donation please bring it along and pop it in the collection basket.

Donation to Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) from the Metropolitan Community Church, Manchester

Members of the Metropolitan Community Church of Manchester will be donating money from things they gave up during Lent to the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit.
Rev Andy Braunston, pastor of the 60-member church, said:
“We have many asylum seekers who worship with us and we know from their experience the horror of having to flee one’s own country to find sanctuary and protection in the UK. Many countries still persecute lesbian and gay people and some even impose the death penalty simply because of how we love.Over the years we have been impressed by the outstanding work of the Immigration Aid Unit and wanted to help them continue to help some of the poorest and most excluded members of our society.”
The money will be handed over to the GMIAU’s Director in a special service this Sunday – 1st June 2008 – at 4pm where one church member’s public asylum campaign will be launched. A short video about Prossy Kakooza, a 26 year old lesbian from Uganda, will be shown and church members will be urged to sign a petition and write to the Immigration Minister demanding that she must not be returned to Uganda to face further physical and sexual attacks from the authorities.
You can see the full campaign details for Prossy kakooza at http://www.mccmanchester.co.uk/prossy.htm
See also this article about our donation to GMIAU in the newsletter of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation.

Letter of thanks from Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit for donation

Date: 30th July 2007

To: Metropolitan Community Church of Manchester

Dear Friends

We are writing to extend a huge thank you to all who contributed to the Smartie Tube fundraiser over Lent. The funds you have raised will go directly into our service provision so that members of our client group who need access to legal advice and representation can get it.

Many of you will agree that those in such desperate need should be able to access advice about their legal situation with ease. Sadly that is not the case and the limitations on what we, as publicly funded lawyers, can provide have increased over recent years making it harder than ever to get good quality advice on immigration and asylum law.

Our Drop-In service, jointly funded by the Legal Services Commission and the Local Authorities of Manchester and Tameside, is under threat because the Legal Services Commission no longer want to provide the money for this service. This is one of the main ways in which we provided our service.

Many people who come to see us are prepared to wait from 6 or 7am to be seen. They know that we will review their case papers, advise comprehensively and even throw in a cup of tea during the advice session. If we can take on their case we will, but the Legal Services Commission also limit the public funding for a case by requiring us to prove the merits of the case at the outset rather than allow us to build a case from discussing events with a client, gathering evidence and assessing objective information. This is most difficult to do for those wanting advice about how to make a fresh claim for protection in the UK.

A review of Home Office statistics will show that a significant number of people claiming asylum and human rights protection have their cases refused. The majority go on to appeal against the decision, some with legal representation and others without. The chances of being successful without a lawyer are slim. Even with one, it is an up-hill struggle because of the interpretation of the UK’s obligations under the Refugee and Human Rights Conventions that have come out of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and other higher courts in recent times which bind other Immigration Judges to follow them.

The upshot of all of this is that there is a significant community of so called ’failed asylum seekers’ – men, women and sometimes children stigmatised in our society by this label, branded as unworthy or, worse, as bogus. Such negative language is hard to live with and we see many people clearly affected by how they think people view them. After all they are only human….something our media and our politicians seem to forget.

So how does a ‘failed asylum seeker’ get their case back on track? The Legal Services Commission won’t fund the work on a fresh claim until the merits of the case can be proven. How do we prove the merits of a case if we have no resources to fund the investigative work we need to do – to pick over the case papers to work out what facts have been accepted, assess whether a newly arrived summons or letter from a family member can impact on any negative findings made in the case so far? How do we look at whether a change in the situation in the person’s country of origin would impact on them if they were returned or even assess a person’s case in the light of changes in the law here in the UK? The answer is we do it with the money you raised.

We can provide almost 15 hours of advice for the money you donated. We can use this to review cases that come to us via the Drop-In and we can use the money to support existing cases where we are still investigating the fresh claim our client seeks to make.

We have an existing and growing reputation for fresh claims work. This is a tough area of law to practise in at the best of times but fresh claims work is complex and arduous, yet we do it well and with your support we can now do more. 15 hours of ‘free time’ may not seem much to you but to us it is significant as it means we can undertake research, think about a case, talk to a client, maybe even talk to an expert, and know that we are living up to the expectations of the person we represent and to the set of values and principles which lie at the heart of GMIAU. Your donations have made access to justice a reality for a number of people and we are truly grateful.

Yours sincerely
Beate Dasarathy

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit