Ten years ago, we at Right to Remain, formerly known as National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, published our Toolkit. Since being published, the Toolkit has become a crucial resource not only for individuals going through the asylum and immigration system, but for people and groups standing in solidarity with migrants and refugees.
To celebrate 10 years of the Right to Remain Toolkit, we will be taking our Toolkit to different areas across the UK. An increasing number of people are standing in solidarity with people seeking asylum, so our Toolkit is an important tool in building connections of solidarity across the UK.
We are proud to say that the Toolkit has supported migrant communities and people working with them for over a decade. Recently, we spoke to Glory – a These Walls Must Fall campaigner- about how the Toolkit supported her through her journey to receiving her status. But aside from migrants themselves, we are interested in hearing about how organisations have used the Toolkit.
The Hummingbird Project is a Brighton-based charity that supports young refugees aged 14 to 25, and campaigns for their rights and protections. They offer a range of services to young people seeking asylum including social activities, 1:1 support and language support sessions. Joshua Samuels, who previously worked at The Hummingbird Project, shared his experience using the Toolkit with us.
“One of the services that we provided was not necessarily advice, but one-to-one support to young refugees and asylum seekers. We often liaise with their solicitors on their asylum claims and help them to just think through the process.”
As legal aid, advice and representation has become increasingly scarce over the years, it is important that people working with migrants are equipped with the knowledge to provide adequate support. Joshua tells us “the Toolkit was really helpful for our support workers just to understand the system. Some of them had worked in youth support before, but never worked specifically with asylum claims, so they didn’t have legal advice training.”
At Right to Remain, we know that the information on the asylum and immigration system can be difficult to understand. Reading pages on end about such a complicated topic can be exhausting and taxing. For this reason, we provide alternative methods of learning, such as through our interactive Asylum Navigation Board and Young Asylum Guide, which can be translated into many languages. Joshua also found our YouTube videos on different Toolkit pages were a helpful way to retain such complex information. “It was helpful that the videos were available in different languages, they [support workers] could share them with some of their clients and beneficiaries and they could understand it themselves.”
Having access to legal education and support can make a world of a difference to young migrants, Joshua explains. “I think that helps with a sense of agency. Young refugees often feel like they’re part of a system they don’t understand or that they have no power or control over. So understanding the system is helpful towards their sense of wellbeing.”
After 8 years in the sector, Joshua has seen a change in the availability of legal advice, due to changes in the legal and political spheres. “For the past three years, specifically in the UK, I think it has gotten more difficult for young people specifically – specially with some of the recent changes in the legislation.”
Though we can’t immediately fix the lack of legal advice and representation given to people seeking asylum, Right to Remain want to support people working with migrant communities so they can support migrants.
“The Toolkit was helpful, not just for service providers, but for the beneficiaries as well, which I think is really key.”
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