Revive Immigration department at the start of British Summer Time 2016
As we mark the start of British Summer Time with the clocks moved forward by one hour, at 1am on Easter Sunday 27th March 2016 we proudly remark that 2016 has been a big year, so far, for the immigration department at Revive.
We bade a temporary farewell to our longstanding Coordinator, Chica Sikhosana, who is spending twelve months on maternity leave. She delivered a healthy baby girl in January and we are delighted for her and her family.
Chica’s role will be covered throughout 2016 by her friend, Sarah Beswick, a solicitor with many years of experience working with refugees and asylum seekers. Sarah brings a wealth of experience to Revive and is formerly of Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, Immigration Advisory Service and Bolton CAB.
Our caseworker Paul Morris, formerly of South Manchester Law Centre and a stalwart in this field for three decades, departed at the end of January. He is succeeded by Irfan Waheed.
Irfan has worked at Refugee Action for several years, giving him impressive knowledge of and contacts in the sector, and we are delighted to welcome him to Revive. He will be delivering drop in advice services both at Revive and our partner agencies.
January saw the launch of the Greater Manchester Refugee Support Partnership Project at the Imperial War Museum in Salford Quays. The event was a great success. The aim of the project is to create a more welcoming and positive environment for refugees, and to deliver high quality, well targeted services where they are particularly needed.
Revive are partnering with the British Red Cross, Rainbow Haven and Refugee Action, and we will have responsibility for delivering the immigration advice specified and funded by the project. This is a hugely exciting opportunity, allowing us the opportunity to help many more refugees and asylum seekers, and to plug in the gaps left by the swingeing legal aid cuts of recent years.
In February, Revive participated in the ‘Welcoming Communities’ event at Salford Cathedral. This was a joint venture between ourselves, the Boaz Trust and the Catholic Diocese of Salford.
A number of specialist workshops were provided, and the immigration department’s contribution was a presentation on ‘How you can help asylum seekers with their cases’. It is hoped that it will be of practical use in allowing delegates an understanding of what they can do to assist asylum seekers in their congregations and communities in securing leave to remain.
From a casework perspective, it has been a busy quarter. We have opened around 40 new files, and have assisted dozens more clients with one off advice at drop-ins.
Revive continue to maintain a strong focus on Refugee Family Reunion, and will be hosting a meeting with staff members from the British Red Cross and GMIAU in April to discuss working together more closely to reunite refugee families.
Our busy travel document and BRP clinic, delivered once a month by our dedicated volunteer Wilf Hammond at the Salford office, continues to be extremely popular. We are working on plans to expand this provision further in order to meet demand.
Additionally, we continue to assist clients with complex applications both under and outside of the Immigration Rules. Our aim is to provide services that are no longer available under legal aid.
This grows ever more necessary as so many of our clients are extremely low income or destitute, and unfortunately with the upcoming reforms to financial and housing support it is likely that this will become a more acute need. Revive stand ready to do all we can to meet it.