“They do care”

We often lack the time to collect testimonies from our visitors and to convey the words of gratitude or happy news that we receive, beyond the daily hardships and frustrations. Our volunteer Rachel is taking time to meet with former or current visitors and to listen to their stories. Here is one account of Elizabeth, a visitor who knows our centre very well.

“I came to the UK in 2001. Some years later I had my son. I didn’t have any support. I paid for a lawyer but he was just collecting the money, he wasn’t doing anything. My partner and I were renting a flat but then we couldn’t pay for it any more. We moved in with a friend. We struggled for about 3 years. I had 3 children. I tried going to social services several times to ask for help, but they didn’t believe me. I go there, they don’t listen. My church helped us a lot – they told us about the foodbank. I went to see the British Red Cross, and they referred me to the migrant centre (HMSC). 

The advisor at the migrant centre contacted social services and told them about my situation. This time, when I went to see the case worker everything went smoothly, and they agreed to support my family. They gave us a place to live outside London, and we were happy there. We later moved back to London.

When my son turned 10, the Home Office contacted me to confirm that he was now registered as a British citizen, and they invited me to submit evidence of identity so that I could have limited leave to remain. I went straight back to the migrant centre and they helped me with that process. With other organisations, they want you to pay the money, but you don’t have it. I went to too many places, but they say they can’t help you.

The migrant centre take time, they listen to you, they send you to a lawyer nearby. You never go disappointed, never. It might take some time, but if you have to wait a long time, they give you food to eat. You forget your problems. They do care. And they give you food to take home. They listened and helped.

I now have leave to remain, we are happy where we are living, and my children are doing well at school.

I remember one lady told me about her problems – I said, ‘Go to the migrant centre. It doesn’t matter if it takes a long time, you will find a solution sooner or later.’”

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