Author Archives: Survivors of Torture Fund

Grand Petition to Lift the Ban on Asylum Seekers Right to Work

The Lift the Ban Coalition is made up of 80 organisations, including charities, businesses and churches. They are calling on the government to give asylum seekers and adult dependents the right to work. They say:

‘People seeking asylum are given just £5.39 per day to meet their essential living costs. Almost half of all asylum seekers currently  wait over six months for their claim to be determined with many waiting years.  The Lift the Ban coalition is working to change this. Together, we believe we can #LiftTheBan and ensure that people seeking safety in the UK have the right to work.’

The coalition believes that asylum seekers could contribute £42m if work rules are relaxed.

For information about the Coalition and to sign the Petition click here:  http://lifttheban.co.uk/

Team Raises £1,266.25 in Derwent Water Trail Run

A big thank you to all those who sponsored the runners, from left to right Kirsten, Aidan, Jude, Joe and Alice  (and Wolfy the dog who ran everywhere), who ran the hilly Derwent Water Trail to raise money for the Survivors of Torture Relief Fund. The Team exceeded their target of £1,000 and, so far, have raised a magnificent £1,266.25
A big thank you to all the runners, and especially to Alice who organised the fund raising event.
Derwent WaterTrail

‘Hostile Environment’: Home Office loses 75% of immigration rulings and 20-year wait for Home Office ruling cause untold misery and poverty

A Guardian report 17 August 2018 has revealed that all too often asylum seekers wait up to 20 years for a decision on their asylum claims. For much of that time, asylum seekers endure poverty and destitution. The report quotes Stephen Hale, chief executive Refugee Action: “Forcing people to wait more than 15 years for a decision on their asylum claim while banned from work and living below the poverty line is utterly barbaric”.

To read the report click here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/17/revealed-asylum-seekers-20-year-wait-for-home-office-ruling

A further Guardian report 03 September 2018 reveals that the Home Office loses 75% of appeals against Home Office rulings. In the vast majority of cases, asylum seekers with meritorious claims, upheld by a judge, are unnecessarily challenged by the Home Office. Often, they will have waited in poverty for years for the initial tribunal ruling only to be condemned to further delay. The report cites Mr. Justice McClosky, the former president of the upper tribunal condemning the home secretary for launching an appeal, saying, “It was manifestly devoid of any substance or merit and should have been exposed accordingly.”

To read the report click here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/03/inhumane-three-quarters-of-home-office-asylum-appeals-fail

How Britain’s asylum system fails the most vulnerable

Not only is the recent small increase in the weekly asylum cash payment wholly inadequate, many asylum seekers wait for long periods of time for the minimal support they are entitled to. A Refugee Action Report, Slipping through the Cracks: How Britain’s Asylum System Fails the Most Vulnerable, analyses the delays and describes the effects on vulnerable asylum seekers. The report was based on research by Refugee Action and the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit’s asylum support project, Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA).

Of the 315 cases supported by Refugee Action or Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA) reviewed:

  • 50% of applications for emergency support (section 98) were wrongly refused, with 92% of these decisions overturned when challenged;
  • People waited an average of 2 months to receive long term financial and accommodation support and 3 months to receive just financial support.
  • People were left in initial accommodation for an average of 37 days, almost double the Home Office’s maximum target of 19 days. This left many in squalid, unsuitable conditions.

 

To read the Report click here: Slipping Through the Cracks – A Refugee Action Report

Increase in Asylum Support Rate Condemned as ‘Paltry’

The Home Office response to a consultation on the cash support provided to asylum seekers has been to increase weekly payments from £36.95 to £37.75 per week: an increase of 80p per week, or just over 11p per day. This increase came into effect on the 5th February 2017. Cashless support for asylum seekers who have submitted a fresh claim remains at £35.39p: they receive no increase at all.

Refugee Action, whose response to the consultation recommended that asylum support rates should be at least 70% of mainstream benefits, expressed disappointment at the small increase, which has beencondemned as ‘paltry’ by the Refugee Council.

To see the Refugee Action press release click here: https://www.refugee-action.org.uk/home-office-announces-small-increase-asylum-support/

To see the Refugee Council press release release click here: https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/latest/news/5142_home_office_plan_to_increase_asylum_support_by_80_pence_and_no_more

 

Build and Rebuild: Charity Art Auction 16 November 2017

GalleryBuild and Rebuild Charity Auction – 20 Dale St. Manchester M1 1EZ (6pm-10pm) 

We’re joining up with Together Now to hold an art auction. We are both charities run entirely by volunteers and all profit from the auction will go to reunite refugee families and support destitute torture survivors.

Come along at 6pm on the 16th November 2017 in Manchester to view the work and place your bid.

For more information and to see the artwork click here:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/together-now/bid-and-rebuild-charity-art-auction/1690371477642656/

To see the flyer click here: Art auction flyer

You can also place a bid in advance by going to the Together Now website – click here:  http://togethernow.org.uk/bid-and-rebuild-see-the-art-available/

Refugee Council Universal Credit Warning

The Refugee Council’s response to the DWP consultation, March 2017, on the roll out of Universal Credit warns that it will result in the increase of destitution and homelessness of refugees moving from asylum support.

They say that:

  • The government should urgently address the anomaly of the asylum support system and Universal Credit timescales to avoid routinely forcing new refugees into destitution and homelessness.
  • Flexibility must be built into the application procedure in order not to exclude those with no National Insurance Number and/or no bank account at the time of application.
  • A solution must be sought to the effect of limiting the Universal Credit Advance to those already assessed to be eligible, in order to avoid complete destitution.

To read the Refugee Council submission click  here Refugee_Council_Universal_Credit

Manchester Supporters Group Donate £665.32 to SoT

The Manchester Asylum and Refugee Supporters Group donated £665.32 to SoT from the proceeds raised at their Burnage and Levenshulme Open Gardens Event. The Manchester Group shared the proceeds with other groups who also support destitute asylum seekers. A very big thank you to the Manchester Supporters Group.Cropped Burnage Open Gardens

All Party Parliamentary report warns that many newly recognised refugees face destitution and homelessness

April 2017

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees has produced a report titled ‘Refugees Welcome?’. The report identifies a two-tier  system of support, and warns that Government policy leaves many newly recognised refugees at risk of homelessness and destitution.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • a National Refugee Integration Strategy
  • a Minister for Refugees

To view the report click here: APPG_on_Refugees_-_Refugees_Welcome_report

Solstice Solidarity sessions Raises £815 at Community Event 17 December 2016

Caro C, singer, engineer and facilitator in sound, and fellow artists, Rise!, Open Voice Choir, Tekla and Michelle Green gave a fantastic live performance of music, singing, and a reading by Michelle Green, to an audience which packed out St. Margaret’s Church on the 17 December 2016.

Over £800 was raised through ticket sales, purchase of hot drinks and cakes from pop-up café, Thyme for a Caper, and a raffle.

We would like to thank Caro, pictured below, for organising the event and all her fellow artists and supporters and to all at St. Margaret’s Church, and to the local independent businesses who donated excellent raffle prizes: Nip and Tipple, Ashiana Takeaway, Unicorn, Tibetan Kitchen, Barbakan and Khawaja Bros Grocery.

Thanks to ALL for an evening of true Community Solidarity which raised so much for the relief of poverty suffered by survivors of torture.caro-fundraiser-17-dec-2016