Welcome to the Hackney Migrant Centre
As a result of unprecedented demand on our centre Hackney Migrant Centre will close for a period of one month in April 2018 in order to allow us to evaluate our current working model, our organisation and staffing capacity, review our priorities and how we can best try to support the visitors to our service.
The “hostile environment” has meant that visitors we see at HMC arrive with ever increasing numbers of problems. We have seen a growth in the number of families who are destitute and the number of people who have problems accessing healthcare. It’s more difficult for those who need legal advice to find the support they require.
Due to legal aid cuts and austerity measures, we find it increasingly difficult to refer cases on to other organisations and therefore have been doing a lot more in-house casework. As a small organisation with only part-time members of staff, we are struggling to respond to the number of cases we are seeing at the drop-in. We are committed to working in a way which will most benefit visitors to our drop-in without over-stretching ourselves or having a negative impact on the wellbeing of our staff
During our closure period, we intend to evaluate our service, and will engage with all relevant stakeholders during this time, including: trustees, staff, volunteers, visitors, partner and referral agencies as well as people who fund us. Following this review, we will be making changes to the way that our service operates. We will communicate in advance as much as possible any changes that will be made.
For cases that HMC have already agreed to take on, we will continue to work on these cases but might be slower to respond to emails and telephone calls.
Helen and Daf - HMC Centre Managers
Read our latest annual report here
Hackney Migrant Centre is a charity that runs a weekly drop-in for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. During the drop-in we offer free advice and casework on:
- homelessness and insecure housing, including destitution cases with no recourse to public funds and asylum support
- poverty relief, including food bank vouchers, grants etc
We also provide that health advocacy can help with access to NHS services, GP registration and problems with NHS charges.
We offer everyone who accesses our service, a free, nutritious, cooked meal and a safe and welcoming environment.
We can also offer support and signposting to relevant services on the following range of issues:
- benefit issues
- mental health support e.g. counselling and trauma services
We do not offer casework on these issues.
We have an in-house destitution coordinator who provide advice and casework on homelessness and poverty relief and a caseworker for migrant families and young people (part of our Moving Out of Hardship project funded by the Big Lottery Fund) We work with a wide range of partner agencies which include:
- immigration advisers from Islington and Lambeth Law Centre and Coram Children's Centre (part of our Moving Out of Hardship project funded by the Big Lottery Fund) (weekly)
- housing solicitors from Camden Law Centre and Duncan Lewis Solicitors (fortnightly)
- advisers from Project 17 who support destitute families (once a month)
- asylum support caseworkers from Migrant Help (weekly)
- health advocates from Homerton NHS (weekly) and Doctors of the World (once a month)
- mental health advocate from City and Hackney Mind (once a month)
The drop-in is held every Wednesday ONLY, 11-4pm (we open registration at 8:30am). Please be aware that demand is very high on our service and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to assist everyone who approaches us. At present, people are queueing before the Centre opens and anyone who joins the queue after 8am is unlikely to be able to see an immigration adviser. If we cannot see you on the day, we will provide you with a list of other services you may wish to try.
Our doors open for registration at 8:30am but we do not start working on cases until 11am. We can only see the first 30 visitors to our service who we triage between 11-12.30pm and are booked in for afternoon advice slots after lunch, between 1.00-4.00pm. Each week we are seeing more people than our advisers can deal with so we might not be able to offer everyone an advice slot with an adviser. Also, we are mainly providing initial advice. If your immigration case does not qualify for legal aid, we might not be able to help you find a pro bono representative, as we have a waiting list of cases for whom we cannot find lawyers. We can give you lists of private solicitors we recommend.
We do not provide appointments unless there are exceptional circumstances which should be arranged with us in advance.
Hackney Migrant Centre has been very effective in helping people. Read some case studies of visitors who have benefited from attending the drop-in.
For information about other similar services that you can access click here and for other sources of immigration advice, click here
Download our flyer here
We have also written a number of reports on our work and issues that affect our visitors here.
Our work is funded by the Big Lottery Fund