December 22, 2020
A look back at 2020!
What a year! We couldn’t have predicted what this year had in store, but despite its challenges, we made it out the other side. And we owe a lot to you.
Thank you for all your support through thick and thin and cheering us on as we continued to empower refugees and other migrants. Here is a little peek of some of what we’ve achieved this year.
When we were forced to close our doors in March, we weren’t sure what to expect. But we moved quickly. We transferred most of our services online and via telephone and saw that we could still help people – even from afar. We upskilled, adapted and came together to offer the best service we could for our clients.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we’ve provided:
About 860 parcels provided to over 80 families between April and October
More than 340 payments made to over 100 individuals and families
We’ve given out almost £40,000 in hardship funds
Continued to offer vital immigration and housing advice
Ran over hundreds hours of wellbeing sessions for women and girls affected by violence
You helped us raise funds and gave in kind support to help families and others struggling to meet their needs. And this festive season, we also asked you to help provide food and other basic necessities to those in immediate need.
Not everyone knows about the struggles our clients face every day. That’s why we make sure to work with them to tell their stories and raise awareness.
Check out our videos for Refugee week and Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Supported national campaigns
Throughout the pandemic, we have been vigilant in protecting the rights of our clients – from ensuring no one was excluded in the government’s ‘Everyone in’ policy to calling for safe and legal routes to the UK.
Boroughs of Sanctuary
We believe that everyone deserves a safe place to call home. That’s why we’re campaigning to make Lewisham, Southwark and Greenwich Boroughs of Sanctuary. Against all odds, we carried on this important work through the pandemic.
In Lewisham, we campaign through the Lewisham Migration Forum. In the midst of the Covid-19 Crisis, the Forum moved their meetings online and worked together to ensure migrants were supported.
Through the Forum, Lewisham Council has listened to us and other organisations campaigning for migrants’ rights. They have:
Agreed to undergo training sessions with parents affected by NRPF, and specialist organisation Project 17, in order to improve their council services for NRPF families
Launched their Strategy on becoming a Borough of Sanctuary
Publicly declared they will not be working with the Home Office to punish migrants for being homeless
And much more!
We also continued to collect pledges from organisations and individuals pledging their support of becoming a Borough of Sanctuary – totalling to over 145 pledges by December 2020.
The Forum has been a great vehicle for campaigning on important issues facing migrants. Through the forum, we have also facilitated improvements to asylum accommodation and fought against NHS charging.
Together with Lewisham Citizens, Save Lewisham Hospital and the Patients not Passports coalition, we have campaigned to end NHS migrant charging – from standing outside Lewisham Hospital to delivering Christmas Cards to chief execs, we have been busy in 2020 ensuring NHS care remains accessible for all.
In Southwark and Greenwich, we’ve also seen councils commit to becoming Boroughs of Sanctuary and we are working with others to make sure that this becomes a reality! Thank you to all our partners – including Southwark Borough of Sanctuary and Citizens UK – for helping us make this a safe and welcoming place for everyone.