Many of the people who come to us are very isolated - they don’t know where to turn. One of our current cases involves a woman and her very sick 2-year-old child. She came to us through a complex referral process from church-based people in London who asked us to intervene – she lives in Tameside. When we first visited her, we found her on the top floor of a Victorian house with no lift, no washing machine and no community care support. Sometimes she could not afford to take her child to hospital appointments. Other times she could not go to buy simple foodstuffs when the child was sick. Our volunteers, alongside the mother, made appropriate contact with community care lawyers, health workers, the housing provider and the immigration lawyer. Mother and child are now in a ground floor flat, with a washing machine. They are being regularly visited by the local social services infrastructure and the health care staff are in touch with her legal representation. She has made new friends and, sometimes, comes to our offices where she can sit with other women and her child can play.
Young man not in school -
Another of our cases involved a 15-year-old boy from Somalia who has been excluded from any form of educational environment for over a year. His mother does not speak any English. We were in communication with every division of the relevant Local Authority’s educational provision to try to secure a resolution – but we failed. We then elicited the support of a legal firm with an educational franchise who has the power to ask the Authority in question to take appropriate steps. It took us 7 months to reach this stage. 16 months after he was first presented to us this young man re-entered the educational system and is at college now.
Racist attack on family -
Very often problems involve being stigmatised and/or discriminated against. For example, we worked closely with a Salford-based family, including 5 children, from Poland. They had been exposed to more than two years of racially motivated violence towards every member of the family. This included a severe assault on a teenage son who had been hospitalised. The police kept on recording violent incidents but nothing was changing – the family felt as if they were under siege. Through our work with the family and the appropriate legal help, the local council has now re-housed them in a safer area and the local councillors in the area from which they have moved are trying to develop community-level dialogue about how to tackle the racism in that patch. In addition, three of the children have become active members of one of our fledgling CEDAR groups, 'YoungRAPAR', for under 25s. Most recently, one of the daughters and one of the sons participated in our creative writing, poetry and photography workshop series.