Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Safe and Legal Migration), Kevin Foster MP, this week visited West Midlands based Nehemiah Housing Association and met with a delegation from the RAFFA International Development Agency including Chief Executive Angela Clarke and RAFFA Vice Chair and Nehemiah CEO Llewellyn Graham to discuss the work RAFFA has been doing to raise awareness of the Windrush Compensation Scheme across the West Midlands.
Awarded government funding to promote the Windrush Compensation Scheme the team at RAFFA has been using its network of volunteers to interact with community groups and large church communities across the West Midlands, reaching out to thousands of potential Windrush Schemes applicants. The RAFFA Windrush Scheme project is a programme of online symposiums, workshops and presentations serving to bridge the gap between the Home Office and potential Windrush victims. They are informing them of their entitlement and encouraging them to have the confidence to engage with the Home Office and independent assistance services and make applications to the scheme.
The project has taken advantage of its strong links with church groups, a regional mental health organisation and engaged with community groups for vulnerable people. They are also reaching out via their links with popular community figures, such as singer and TV Presenter Annette B. Additional activities have included talks for students at a local college and an online series of video conversations, featuring guest appearances from prominent members of the community, delivering information, reminiscing, and celebrating the past and on-going contributions of the Windrush generation.
During the meeting with the Minister Nehemiah’s Chief Executive and Vice Chair of RAFFA Llewellyn Graham put key challenges to the Minister including
Respect the Windrush Generation
The injustices suffered by the Windrush generation have been well documented but a quirk in the pensions system means that some are facing another blow. If an individual moves back to – among others – Antigua, Trinidad, St Lucia or Grenada, their UK state pension is frozen for life. Llewellyn gave examples of people who had suffered as a direct result of this and asked for this to be addressed urgently.
He also asked the Minister to mark Windrush Day on 22 June 2022 by making a commitment to end the delays and distress to those people seeking compensation from the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
Llewellyn Graham, Chief Executive of Nehemiah Housing Association, commented: “The visit combined with the dialogue we shared and the opportunity to showcase what we are doing at both RAFFA and Nehemiah Housing Association to raise awareness of the Windrush Compensation Scheme was a positive experience.
“We also took the opportunity to highlight how change needs to happen with the Scheme. We believe less than half of those who have applied for Windrush compensation have had their claims concluded almost three years after the scheme opened. This needs to change.
“We also asked the Minister to make a commitment to do more to raise awareness of the scheme and how people can apply.
“We hope that Kevin Foster MP will take our messages back to Government and to commit to support our aims and help us work together in addressing the challenges facing our communities.”