The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today (Friday 8th) described the Windrush scandal as a ‘stain on our nation’s conscience’, as he announced plans to provide £20,000 to help members of the Windrush generation gain access to support services. Last year the government said at least 63 members of the Windrush generation could have been wrongly deported from the country after being asked to prove their legal status to remain in the U.K.
Today the Mayor has announced that City Hall will match funding raised by the Windrush Justice Fund – a grassroots initiative created to provide legal advice, immigration support and outreach services for the Windrush generation, other Commonwealth citizens and their descendants.
The fund was launched by Patrick Vernon OBE last year to offer a range of services, including support for those applying to the Windrush Compensation Scheme. It will offer small grants of between £200 and £2,000 to grassroots and community organisations.
The Windrush Justice Fund has already secured £18,680 from online donations made by members of the public. In addition to practical assistance, the appeal aims to highlight the plight of undocumented Londoners and others forced to prove their legal right to remain in the UK.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The Windrush scandal has become a stain on our nation’s conscience. It shone a light on an immigration system which is simply not fit for purpose. But while the government dragged its heels in providing compensation and support, Londoners have dug deep to show solidarity with those affected. The Windrush Justice Fund has highlighted the kindness and compassion of Londoners, and I’m proud to join with them to recognise the contribution this remarkable community has made to our city.”
Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Debbie Weekes-Bernard said: “The Windrush scandal has been a catalogue of errors, with the Government’s actions causing untold distress and pain. The Windrush Justice Fund is a remarkable example of what can happen when communities come together and I’m proud to join the Mayor in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Windrush generation and their descendants.”
Patrick Vernon OBE said: “We established the Windrush Justice Fund in partnership with GoFundMe and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants at the height of the Windrush scandal in April 2018. Our aim was to raise money for the third sector and grassroots organisations that were helping those affected by the Government’s hostile environment access independent legal advice and assistance. It is great news that the Mayor of London is providing match-funding meaning we can help more individuals to apply to the Home Office Windrush Scheme and the forthcoming Compensation Scheme. The Home Office has resumed deportation flights so there is an even more urgent need for advice and support to members of the Windrush generation and their descendants and those hoping to affirm their status as British citizens. I would like to thank the public and several key individuals for their donations to the Windrush Justice Fund. I would also like to thank the team at GoFundMe and sponsors WeAreWindrush who provided t-shirts, Focus Games for the Windrush board game and Jacaranda Books who published Stephen Bourne’s book ‘War to Windrush’.”
Satbir Singh, chief executive of JCWI, said: “Ten months after the country learned about the Windrush Crisis, far too many people remain struggling to access the kind of support that can help them piece their lives back together. This fund, made possible by the remarkable generosity of ordinary Londoners and matched by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, will provide much-needed support to many community groups and grassroots organisations who may struggle to make ends meet but who nonetheless go above and beyond to help.”
For more information on the Windrush Justice Fund visit their GoFundMe page here - https://uk.gofundme.com/windrush-justice-fund
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