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No recourse to public funds has serious implications in Northern Ireland


22 July 2015

 Fifteen organisations came together before the July holidays at a Stronger Together Network event in Cookstown to discuss the issues facing people that have ‘no recourse to public funds’ and to look at how these individuals can be supported.  

Many people come to the UK legally from countries across the world to work and contribute to society. In many cases a person’s circumstances can change after living here for a period of time and they find themselves in a difficult financial situation where they have no recourse to public funds, however have themselves and their family to care for.

As like many indigenous families in Northern Ireland breakdown in family relationships can occur, however, for some migrant families this change in relationship status can affect them more severely than some may realise. Families find themselves in a desperate financial situation where they struggle to put a roof over the heads of or provide food for their family. All victims of domestic violence face a series of difficulties for themselves and their children and this is exacerbated for migrant families, as their immigration status in linked directly with their spouses circumstances, leaving them with no support through government funds.

Adrian Glackin from STEP delivered to the group an informative presentation focusing on the legalities around welfare and immigration and how the people find themselves in NI with no recourse to public funds as a result of unforeseen circumstances changes for them. Edel Fox, also from STEP facilitated focused discussion on the on the realities for service providers, sharing STEP’s best practice model deal with situations involving people that have no recourse to public funds.

The feedback from all participants was very positive and it was identified that networking is key at a local level to ensure people receive assistance in these cases through short, medium and long term solutions. The group have agreed to come together in the near future to further development local and regional opportunities for service providers in tackling this growing problem.

 If you would like to be involved in future Stronger Together events and have an interest in issues facing black and minority ethnic communities in Northern Ireland then please contact Eliza on 028 87750211, email info@strongertogether.org

Or visit the website www.strongertogetherni.org

 

ENDS

Contact: Eliza on 028 87750211, email info@strongertogether.org

Notes:

·         The Stronger Together Network is an informal network of organisations who work predominantly with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. The key outcomes of the group were to increase sharing of information and identification of partnership opportunities.

·         Seven organisations make up the consortium who currently lead the network: STEP, Artsekta, Chinese Welfare Association, Ballymena Inter Ethnic Forum, Ballymoney Community Resource Centre, Community Arts Partnership and African & Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland

·         In 2012, the network successfully applied for funding from the PHA (Public Health Agency) to allow the network to become more formalised and structured. There are currently over 160 members representing BME Organisations and Groups, BME individuals, Community Sector, Volunteer Sector and Public Service Sector.

·         The three key outcomes are to:

1. Share information and knowledge

2. Provide a useful and central shared resource to connect service providers within the sector

3. Identify new opportunities for partnership and innovation

 

·         Membership of the Stronger Together Network is currently free of charge

 

 

 

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