Workshop with MILK Cafe and Unity Sisters

News | Solidarity

On 21 July 2023, we facilitated a workshop with MILK Cafe and Unity Sisters in Glasgow. MILK Cafe is a social enterprise, which offers space to refugee and migrant women in Glasgow to meet. Unity Sisters is an autonomous support group for migrant women and their families, which provides a safe space for women to receive and give support to one another. 

What did we get up to?

Following the guiding principles of our ‘Knowledge is Power’ workshops, in this session our central aim was to explain the importance of learning about the asylum and immigration systems. Through learning about these systems, we gain power in resisting them. 

We started with a dive into Right to Remain resources. We highlighted:

● The Toolkit itself

Legal Updates on key changes in the law

The Asylum Navigation Board to help visualise key stages of the asylum process

The Young Asylum Guide for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum

The Right to Remain YouTube channel

5 Steps to Sharing the Toolkit

In this section, we highlighted how to navigate through the Toolkit, on a computer, and on your phone. Our newly redesigned flyers have QR codes which can be scanned on a smartphone to take you straight to the Toolkit. 

We talked through how to use our search bars, and highlighted the ‘ACTION SECTION’ on each page, which gives practical steps you can take to be in a better position.

Although most of the participants had heard of the Toolkit before the workshop, many were not aware that the Toolkit is available in multiple languages. Each page can be automatically translated into a language of your choice via the Google Translate function. In addition, key Toolkit pages have also been officially translated into widely spoken languages. 

Many in the group were also happy to discover that we have a YouTube channel, which has videos in multiple languages, including Spanish!

After a short break for tea, we launched into the next activity on legal advice and legal support. We first explained the difference between legal advice and legal support. 

Legal advice is the application of legal rules and principles to a specific set of facts that proposes a course of action and can ONLY be given by someone who is registered with the Law Society, or OISC. 

Legal support is taking action without giving legal advice. It can be many things, and includes understanding and passing on general legal information, and providing emotional/moral and practical support through the legal process. 

Then, as a group, we categorised different scenarios into either ‘Legal Advice’ or ‘Legal Support’. Some of the scenarios brought up some good discussion about the limits of what we are able to help people with. 

After the session, one of the participants told us:

‘The session helped us understand very well the difference between legal advice and legal support and also to understand how immigration system currently works.’

What is next?

Following a series of training sessions, this group have been working to develop a unique model of community-based peer advocacy. It will focus on rights and inclusion, and will work to signpost people to organisations which can help them. The group’s ‘Community Peer Advocacy Project will start in September, and will operate on a drop-in basis. The group is planning to use the Toolkit as a guide.

This is an example of a community group performing very important legal support functions. We are working in a context in which there are increasingly hostile laws and policies which are affecting migrants at all stages of the asylum and immigration process. Legal aid lawyers are at capacity, and often do not have time to support clients fully or take on new clients.

Despite these struggles, initiatives like this one demonstrate the power that we have in our community to support one another. 

With the Toolkit as a guide, you can also help someone in the asylum and immigration process to learn more about their rights. Remember: using, understanding and sharing the Right to Remain Toolkit is a form of legal support!

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Please note Right to Remain cannot provide immigration legal advice that is specific to your individual asylum and immigration application.

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