“Take courage and keep working, there are more of us than you think.”


Robert Swinfen, Treasurer and Management Committee member at Right To Remain, writes about how everyone has important skills to bring to a campaign.

When we think of people campaigning for migration justice, or for anything else, we often think of someone who is highly visible. A person leading a demonstration, speaking from a platform, organising a meeting in a community hall and gathering folk together, someone sharing ideas and passion in a group discussion.

Campaigning needs all of these, but it also needs other gifts too. We know, often from difficult experiences, how important a good lawyer is; someone with technical knowledge and access to the Court system, who knows the rules of those strange systems that are so important to us. As well as that though, someone needs to book the hall for the meeting, bring the coffee, tea, and juice, arrange to pay any bills, and so on.

Good campaigning needs those of us who are less obvious too.

“Everyone has skills to bring to a campaign.”

I have been the Treasurer of Right To Remain for a number of years now. I have a background in finance and I like working with numbers, so my contribution to this important work is to keep on top of the money, to make sure the bills are paid, to provide reports which our funders ask for.

Its not so visible as some of the other roles; I am so impressed with people who do those, and sometimes I wish I was one of them, but actually I know that this role is where I can make my best contribution to our shared work.

I too am passionate about justice for migrants, I have lost friends to deportation and I have family trapped in bad situations in other countries. I also have the joy of friends and relatives who have achieved secure immigration status, through their own efforts and those of their supporters. I am lucky, I was born a UK Citizen, and I have a good income. I can contribute to migration justice through using my skills and my money to support individuals and organisations like Right To Remain.

Everyone has skills to bring, though, and not all of those skills are the highly visible ones, so this blog is just a reminder that you can be a vital part of campaigns without being the obvious one. Take courage and keep working, there are more of us than you think.

Robert works as Head of Finance for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and formerly worked for The Iona Community, Richmond Fellowship, NACRO and Oxfam. He serves on the Board of Positive Action in Housing and has been a voluntary committee member for many other community bodies and charities. He is a professional qualified accountant.


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