Tag Archives: first wednesday

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.

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).

Detention of gay asylum seeker Ludovic Hapi and risk of imminent removal to Cameroon

Logo_White_smallsizeLatest – Update August 2015

Ludovic appealed the latest refusal of his claim to a hearing of the asylum tribunal in Manchester and was granted leave to remain in August 2015.

 Now read on for the full story of Ludovic’s case:


As you may know, our church runs a social and support group for LGBT asylum seekers called First Wednesday.  One of our members, Ludovic Leudeu Hapi, is a gay man from Cameroon who fled here in 2008.  He cannot live openly as a gay man in Cameroon and he has already been arrested in Cameroon because he was in a bar which gay people used.

Thankfully he wasn’t, on that occasion, subjected to ill treatment but he did witness the murder of a gay friend who was killed by government forces and fears that if he were to be returned to Cameroon he would be in danger.

Ludovic has been attending our First Wednesday group for well over a year as well as the Manchester Icebreakers group for gay men.  He is a quiet, gentle person who is highly educated and would make a wonderful contribution to our national life.


The government have refused to believe that Ludovic is gay and he was detained on 2nd July 2014 when he reported routinely to the Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre in Salford as his appeals options had officially been exhausted.  After briefly being held initially in the Manchester area, Ludovic was transferred to Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre at Swinderby in Lincolnshire.

Removal Instructions

After detaining him for a month, the UK Borders Agency have issued Ludovic with removal instructions and plan to deport him from the UK tomorrow evening (Tuesday 5th August) via an 8pm Kenya Airways flight to from Heathrow to Nairobi (Kenya) and then an onward Kenya Airways flight to Yaounde (Cameroon).


Ludovic’s solicitors hope to submit a Judicial Review today (Monday) of this decision and have secured funding for that but, in the meantime, we’re asking you to contact the airline to try and persuade them not to take him.

Who To Contact:

Right to Remain offer the following two email addresses: contact@kenya-airways.com and ukres@kenya-airways.com  Please also email the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways, Mr Titus Naikuni via titus.naikuni@kenya-airways.com and use his name.

In Your Subject Line, please put the following information: Ludovic Hapi, KQ101 / KQ526, Tuesday 5th August

What to say:

  • Explain to the airline that the UK Borders Agency are trying to remove Ludovic against his will.
  • Explain he will be at risk in Cameroon simply because he is a gay man.
  • Explain this is a breach of his human rights and that he needs to stay in the UK in order to live his life without fear.
  • Keep it simple, clear and calm. It is UKBA who are responsible for the deportation, but you wish to raise your concerns (for the airline’s reputation, the individual being deported, and the other passengers on the flight) that the airline is involved in this act.

Please blind-copy us (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk) into any emails you send so that we can keep track of how the campaign is going.

What Else You Can Do….

  • Please remember Ludovic, and his legal team, in your prayers.
  • You may wish to leave a comment on Kenya Airways Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/kenyaairwaysGB.  Remember to quote Ludovic’s name, flight and date of removal – Ludovic Hapi, KQ101 / KQ526, Tuesday 5th August
  • If you use Twitter, you may wish to tweet them – @KenyaAirways
  • Please also share this information far and wide and use Twitter and Facebook to push the details.  You will find all these details on our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/MetropolitanChurch

In love and service,

Andy Braunston
Pastor: Metropolitan Church (pastor@metropolitanchurch.org.uk)

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate: 5th August (1)

Ludovic sent us a text at 4am this morning saying that he was being transferred from Morton Hall to an Immigration Removal Centre in London (likely to be either Colnbrook or Harmondsworth, which are both adjacent to Heathrow Airport).

Ludovic’s solicitors will submit his Judicial Review application at 10am today (5th).  We hope it is sufficient to halt the removal process.  In the meantime the campaign with the airline continues.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate: 5th August (2)

Ludovic has had a fraught day – but his removal directions have been lifted!

We received a text at 4am telling us that the Home Office personnel had woken him up and told him to get ready to be moved from the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire to a Removal Centre in London – presumably in preparation for his deportation flight. He was driven to London later in the day and then back to Lincolnshire as his Removal Directions had been lifted during the day.

We’re not sure why the Removal Directions were lifted before his solicitor had actually submitted her application for a Judicial Review of his case.  It may be that the pre-action letter from his solicitors, indicating that a JR was being submitted, was enough to alert the Home Office to some of the errors they are making in his case.

The JR was formally submitted this morning (5th).  We don’t know how long it will take for the Home Office to reconsider, for the Judicial Review application to make its way through the courts, nor when Ludovic may be released or granted bail; but, in the meantime please keep him in your prayers.

Ludovic has asked us to thank everyone who has held him in their prayers and everyone who has written on his behalf to Kenya Airways.  It all makes such a difference.

Logo_White_smallsizeUpdate 20th August

Ludovic has been released from immigration detention!

He was detained on 2nd July and the Home Office tried to deport him.  Legal moves, and a public campaign forced them to back down and now he’s been released.

He has no more news on his case, still has to report each week at Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre in Salford, but is relieved to be out.  He hopes to join us on Saturday at the Manchester Pride Parade.

Latest – Update August 2015

Ludovic appealed the latest refusal of his claim to a hearing of the asylum tribunal in Manchester and was granted leave to remain in August 2015.

‘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!