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PUBLIC MEETING - Hackney community groups to discuss support for refugees and migrants - November 30th 2015


migration22-217x300 A public meeting to discuss Hackney's response to the refugee and migrant crisis and ongoing issues facing migrants locally has been called for 7.30pm on 30 November at Chats Palace, Brooksbys Walk, E9.


Various groups currently involved in the situation will be represented and Cllr Sophie Linden, Hackney’s Deputy Mayor, will speak on the Council’s work. This follows on from an emergency community meeting in September which felt it would be important to try and get a borough-wide response to the unfolding refugee and migrant crisis with people continuing to flee from Syria and elsewhere.


Concerns were also raised about the increasing 'hostile environment' being created for migrants already in the UK and further impact the new immigration bill will have on migrants.


Rev Cathy Bird, one of the meeting organisers said: “We want to bring together as many groups and people as possible to work together to help people fleeing from Syria and elsewhere. Those coming to the meeting should be prepared to help in some way or offer resources. “But we also need to make it clear that if the government is serious in wanting to help such people it must also provide more funding for such work. It cannot just rely on overstretched voluntary organisations and local peoples’ goodwill.”


Helen Hibberd, Hackney Migrant Centre Co-ordinator, has urged the Government to provide more help. “HMC is having to meet the current demand for advice and support from migrants who are coming from across London as well because some boroughs don't have a migrant centre or a law centre with any immigration advisers. We are gravely concerned about the impact of the new immigration bill could have on migrants and are worried about the potential for increased racism, following landlord checks, destitution, following asylum support cuts and further problems accessing essential health care.


Hackney’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sophie Linden, who is leading on the situation for the Council, said: “We have a moral obligation to help those who are seeking sanctuary. The council is ready to play its part in the country's response to the refugee crisis. The Government also needs to step up and provide the funding necessary." If people want to help, they can contact Hackneyunites@btinternet.com or call the Council’s helpline 020 8356 4989 Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm, with any offers of assistance.


Information can also be found at the Hackney Borough of Sanctuary Facebook page. For further information, please call Ian Rathbone on 07890 654 068.