Sarah came to the UK in 2010 as the spouse of a student. After coming to the UK the student, her husband, became violent towards her. He would attack Sarah physically for the most trivial reasons and he would control her emotionally as well as financially. She tried to resolve issues with him as they had two children together, but the abuse continued. He would consistently torture her mentally and physically. Sarah stayed with her husband and tolerated the abuse, not least because leaving him would mean losing her visa which allowed her to be in the UK. It wasn’t until 2013 when she finally got the courage to leave him.
How we helped Sarah
Sarah came to see us, mainly to seek immigration advice. She wanted to live and work in the UK as both her children were born here and she had established a family life. She also wanted to seek some advice related to her accommodation. Thanks to multi-agency approach at the Hub, the HER centre helped her deal with her unsuitable living conditions. She was also given free immigration advice provided by Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network. The advocacy volunteers at the Hub helped her prepare an application for Leave to Remain on human rights grounds. The advocacy volunteers were also involved in collating together important documents and in writing a personal history statement in support of her application.
In the process, combined efforts meant a solicitor at the local Plumstead Law Centre agreed to take on her case for free and continue the application process. The advocacy volunteers at the Greenwich Migrant Hub were very pleased with this outcome, as it means Sarah will be able to get the necessary attention and legal advice to ensure that she obtains the most successful outcome in her case. Sarah is an incredibly strong and resilient woman who has suffered an awful lot at the hands of her violent husband and from poor access to support from the council and social services due to her status.
Sarah has attended our drop-in on Tuesday afternoons most weeks since her first visit in December and has become a dear presence at the Hub. We are proud to say that we could support her throughout her hard work in rebuilding her life and wish her every success in moving on and raising her children in a safe environment.
Caroline came to the UK in 2008. Soon after that her husband left the country and left her to be a single mother to two of her sons; a 12 year old and 20 year old with a disability. It became extremely difficult for her to take care of her family even though she was working hard. In January last year she was no longer allowed to work in the UK due to her immigration status. From that point on she had to use the food banks to support her family. By the end of April 2015 when she came to the Hub she was risking eviction due to increasing rent arrears.
How we helped Caroline
Caroline came to see us for advice on immigration, housing and welfare advice. Her life was turned completely upside down and she was very distressed. She wanted to make a new application for Leave to Remain for herself and her two sons, and also needed help with her housing situation as she was in risk of eviction. She was referred to an immigration solicitor who gave her advice on the approach she should take with regards to making new applications, and contacts of solicitors who may be able to take on her case. Additionally, she was referred to Greenwich Housing rights, who gave her advice to split all her utility bills, to help her manage the arrears. The advocacy volunteers also secured an appointment for her with Project 17, an organisation helping vulnerable families with no recourse to public funds, and made a grant application to various sponsors to assist with her daily living expenses.
The Hub advocacy volunteers are very pleased with the progress of her case as she was successful with the grant applications from two sponsors. The grants helped her to buy food for her family and to put in the Leave to Remain applications, one for her and her 12 year old son, and one for her 20 year old son. Once the applications were in and she could show progress in her situation, social services stepped in and started supporting her and her children. As she had been evicted from the previous property she was now granted temporary accommodation.
A few weeks later Caroline came back to visit the Hub, laughing and dancing, hugging everyone. She had been out buying some food, with her own money, not from the Food bank, and she had a home to go to where her children were happy. We are very happy that we could help Caroline and we wish her every success in the future.