Tag Archives: GMIAU

Raising money for the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit – Lancashire Loop Cycle Challenge

Would you like to have ‘fun day’ and raise money for a good cause? Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) provides legal immigration advice and support. Many of the people it represents have come to this country seeking asylum, people who have had to leave their home countries because they have faced violence or oppression; often their lives have been in danger.

As part of its fund raising programme for the current year, GMIAU would like to enter 10 cyclists in a sponsored cycle ride (the Lancashire Loop Cycle Challenge) taking place around the village of Cockerham, north Lancashire, on Sunday 27 September 2009.

This is being organised by the children’s charity ‘MedEquip4Kids. Would you like to take part and help raise money for the GMIAU?  Apart from being a good cause, it should be a lot of fun as well in what is a very nice part of Lancashire. There are 3 possible routes to choose from  – 18, ’50’ and ‘100’ mile’ – depending on your fitness, experience and enthusiasm.

If you would like to take part then please contact Duncan Poulton: duncan.poulton1@btopenworld.com

‘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.

Social Event for the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, 17th April 2009

ladyjustice_greenandgold1Duncan writes: The Unit is holding a fund raising concert and disco on Friday 17 April at the Chorlton Irish Association Club, 17 High Lane, Chorlton, M21 9DJ. It starts at 8pm and runs till 1am.

We have held these concerts before and they have always been very well received, so it promises to be really enjoyable evening. There will a performances of Salsa dancing, music from Gambi), Poetry and Stories, Chinese Songs and Sword of Chinese Martial Art, African Jazz, Salsa dancing and disco. Snacks will be provided during the evening.

The performers are giving their services free and the Irish Club are not charging for our use of the room. Therefore, all the takings (except for the cost of food) will go towards supporting the GMIAU. The cost of admission is £6, with concessions at £5, inclusive of food so it is excellent value. This is payable at the door (though I hope to have tickets available beforehand).

We need two things please. Firstly, we need people to attend and bring all their friends, loved ones, relatives and anybody else they happen to bump into, so as to create a really good atmosphere and raise ticket money. Secondly, we need raffle prizes so would be very grateful for anything donated.

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.

Immigration, asylum and nationality issues handled by Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) – forthcoming address by Hermione McEwen

MCC Manchester is delighted to welcome Hermione McEwen, Senior Solicitor from the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU), as a guest speaker at our worship service at 4pm on Sunday 4th February 2008.

Details of GMIAU can be found at their website http://www.gmiau.org

An article describing Hermione’s work can be viewed at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,200-2260733,00.html

Social event supporting the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit – Friday 16th November

On Friday some of us are off to a social at the Irish Club in Chorlton in aid of our friends at the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit.  It costs £5 to get in, there will be food, a chance to get to know each other better and dancing!  Let Andy know if you want to come and we will send you details of where the club is.

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