Today we have learned that the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Given the momentous nature of this referendum, debate surrounding it has dominated news headlines and national discourse over the past few months. Immigration has been a key issue for both campaigns, and at Praxis we have been alarmed to see an increase in inflammatory rhetoric – generating and exploiting fear of migrants for political gain.
We have also seen encouraging expressions of support for migrant communities, and a strong message that we have more in common than that which divides us. In the coming weeks and months, we must move forward and try to build a more welcoming and accepting society for all people. We must continue to stand up for the most vulnerable in our society, including those seeking refuge. We must respond with humanity and compassion.
The result of the referendum has been settled, but many questions remain. Not least; what is the future for the estimated 3 million non-British EU citizens currently living in the UK? Although the official Leave campaign has given assurances that any new immigration system would not affect this group, legal experts say the picture is much less clear.
There are significant and understandable concerns among EU citizens living here. At Praxis, we expect to see an increase in enquiries from worried EU migrants. We call on all parties to make it clear that all EU citizens living in the UK are a valued part of the country’s fabric and that their rights will be protected. We encourage our supporters to sign a petition to that effect, started by the organisation British Future, which is here.
If you would be interested in getting involved with our work, we’d love to hear from you. We urgently need motivated volunteers to join our team; click here to find out more. To keep up to date with our work, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
A tipping point in public sympathy towards refugees & migrants has finally been reached over the last few weeks - and the outpourings of goodwill, generosity & solidarity we have received have been inspiring and heartening. Lots of you want to know - what can I do to help? Here are some suggestions.
We are a small charity that survives almost entirely on grant funding and donations to support our frontline work with vulnerable migrants. Demand on our free legal advice & holistic support services is huge and growing, and now far exceeds our capacity to meet it. We urgently need donations to help us support destitute people to access food and shelter, and to help them raise the cost of application fees & surcharges to the Home Office that can sometimes be in excess of £1000. Equally vital, we also really need unrestricted donations to enable us to improve our infrastructure to help maintain our vital services.
Please donate here if you would like to support us.
Or you can donate by text: just text PRAX12 to 70070, and include the amount in the message. 100% of the text donation comes straight to Praxis.
Host a migrant individual or family in your home:
We helped establish and are part of the London Hosting network, which is now co-ordinated by Housing Justice. If you have a spare room and think that hosting might work for you, you can find out more about what's involved and how to get involved here. An information meeting is also being held at Praxis on Monday 21st September, 6-8pm, where people who are London-based and interested in finding out more can hear from people who are hosting, and people being hosted. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to register a place.
If you’re outside London, please contact http://naccom.org.uk/ or Dave Smith of Boaz Trust/NACCOM on email@example.com.
We rely on volunteers to help us deliver our services - but large numbers of volunteers for short periods of time are hard for us to manage. We really need dedicated volunteers who are willing to commit to working with us for at least 6 months & preferably longer, and for a minimum of 1 day a week. You can find out more about the kinds of roles we need help with here [insert hyperlink to volunteer opportunities leaflet].
Praxis works with all vulnerable migrants, not just those recognised as refugees by the Home Office. We support those who have been trying to survive, undocumented and destitute, for years while their immigration case lies in limbo, as well as those newly arrived asylum seekers who are fleeing torture and persecution. We do not distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' migrants. We believe that everyone is human and that no one is illegal. Please think about what you can do not only for the Syrian refugee family who will be entitled to government support & accommodation, but also for the pregnant woman who was trafficked into the UK many years ago, who has since been trying to resolve her immigration status but who currently has none, and who as a result is destitute, not entitled to any public funds, and who may tonight be at risk of putting herself in a precarious and dangerous situation to survive.
What we can't do:
Manage donations of food & clothes - we have nowhere safely to store these and it's difficult for us to distribute them. The following organisations are worth getting in touch with if you'd like to donate these kinds of items or provide immediate practical assistance (please check online for national/local contacts):
Red Cross Refugee Unit destitution service or contact: Londonru@redcross.org.uk
West Croydon Baptist Church
Notre Dame Refugee Centre
London Catholic Worker
Trussell Trust (local food banks, often providing food for destitute migrants)
Support Doctors of the World who are providing vital medical assistance to migrants in Calais, London and across the world. www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk
Calais Migrant Solidarity
Saturday 12th September is a national Refugees Welcome day of action. See here for details of national demonstration & local events
Thank you for your support –