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Free in Norfolk

B Me

Voices

ÂŁ1 Donations elsewhere

Issue 5 Winter 2015

Norfolk is our home

Funeral in the Congolese Community of Norwich

The Body Building Champion from Iraq

Voices of Nostalgia & Integration of BME people of Norfolk from 1960’s to Present What you need to know about the new UK Immigration Bill A Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Magazine promoting diversity


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INDEX EDITORIAL

Thanks to all those who continue to support the continuity of this magazine. Norfolk has been home to black/Asian and minority ethnic (BME) people for as long as anyone currently alive in the county can remember but perhaps not as many BME people then as now. In this issue, we share the sentiments of some people from BME communities who have been in Norfolk from the 1960s to date. We feature two group views, one of statements made in 2004 and the other in 2015, and we leave you to draw your own conclusions as to what has changed in the ten years covered. The festive seasons are here and as we are all cheering, a lot has happened between the last issue and now, with so much media hype on immigration. The government however does not seems to be making it any easier with its introduction of the 2015 Immigration Bill. Many experts and migrants advocates deemed it the most anti-immigrant so far, with parts of it clearly very discriminatory. Government aside, the UK is full of decent and sympathetic people who continue to support and promote migrants rights, with Europe’s people reaching out and helping. But we also see many vulnerable families and children suffer as a result trying to flee to safety and taking risky journeys to reach the shores of Europe for protection. I recently read a story in the Guardian (30/10/15) about a Jane, a destitute asylum seeker who has been in the UK with her dependent children for over 10 years and still going through the process of trying to get the right to live legally in the UK. My first reaction was that, well we have so many Janes right here in Norwich, in Ipswich, in Peterborough and yet when we see the flood of sympathy being triggered by the Syrian refugee crisis, one wonders if it only takes lost lives, daily bombings, destruction and carnage to remember that there are others like Jane already within our midst. Many people like Jane have suffered psychological traumas, and will continue to suffer as a result of the asylum process. These people, as rightly described in the Guardian article, have to beg for bus and train passes, clothes, food (thanks to Foodbanks), just to survive the system designed to protect the vulnerable. Thanks to all for your comments and support. You can access the online version www.bridgeplus.org.uk. Sincerely

Pa Musa, i5! Contact: office@bridgeplus.org.uk

4 Voices of Norfolk BME residents – Now & Then 11 List of BME community Groups 12 Most British employees cannot afford to bring their family member to the UK

13 Gambian African Women’s Network Event

14 Your MP & Your Immigration Matter 20 Great Yarmouth Ethnic Minority Association 2015 Cultural Event

24 The Truth about Police Stop & Search 25 Funeral in Congolese community 29 Is the 2015 UK Immigration Bill Discriminatory?

32 Bulgarians in Norfolk Celebrate

33 Key Facts & Updates in Brief

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According to the Now & Then BME residents of Norfolk Below and in the subsequent pages we share the views of some of Norfolk’s BME residents who have been here from the 1960s to now. Some names have been anonymised and the quotes have therefore been paraphrased to maintain this anonymity. The first sets of comments were recorded back in 2004 followed by comments from people in 2015. Some Voices & Views as captured back in 2004 • 1960s born here - “M” I was born in the UK a little over 50 years ago to a white mother and a Black father. I was about eight years old when I became aware of being “different”. At that point I started to become aware of people calling me names. I felt being singled out when walking down the street with friends. From my schooling there was no sense for me that there was a history to black people in this country. It was as if I had suddenly landed from the planet Zog. In investigating history I found there is a very long history of all sorts of people coming to this country. Luckily I have a great family and I never really felt that it was my problem. I did move around the country a bit, but I returned to Norwich with the determination to make this area more the sort of place I wanted to live and feel comfortable in through my work. • 1960s arrived here - “V” I came to the UK in the late 1960s, and naturalised as British citizen in the late 1970s. I qualified as a nurse in the 1970s. I have always been active on different equality and diversity championing organisations. I strongly believe we are all different but all equal. My dream and hope for the future is to see a more equitable society, I believe in assimilation rather than isolation. • 1960s born here – “J” I was born in the UK to African parents. I have been very active in youth work, specialising in working with vulnerable young people to help reduce disaffection and exclusion and improve their ability to cope with the challenges they face. I grew up with “an identity crisis,” which disturbed me but motivated me to go to university in order to make sense

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of the life choices I had made, and to understand why so many young black males were set to follow the same path. Increased personal stability and my desire to have a more stable family life was the reason behind moving permanently to Norwich, where I am now established. • 1960s arrived here – “G” I came here in the latter part of the 1960s, as one of the overseas nurses recruited by the UK government to come and work. I had just completed my nursing training back home, and I had to convince my parents that this would be a good opportunity for me, and that I would be able to support them financially. It was then that I began to realise that there was no support group to help or advise BME people around. As result, in the early 1990s, we started a community group which continued to exist to date. I believe our community group is a success, because it continues to grow in number every year and helping an increasing number of people through times of trouble, alongside building and creating friendships between members. • 1990s arrived here – “A” I came to the UK as a teenager to study. Life was difficult at first. When I came to Norfolk I found it very white. I found myself isolated and very depressed because there weren’t any places where I could go and meet other people like me. Racial abuse was not uncommon. It was mainly name-calling and not getting equal service, but the hardest part was the isolation and loneliness. I used to run back to London every weekend. My job has always involved helping the wide range of ethnic minorities living locally to have more say in the services available to them. Lack of knowledge and information is an evil and part of my job is to raise that awareness. Over the years I have grown to love

Norfolk and I particularly enjoy getting out into the countryside and to the coast. Despite all the challenges, I would like to emphasise that I have met lots of white people in Norfolk who are committed to making things better, and who have sometimes been an inspiration to me. • 1970s arrived here - “C” I attended college in the UK in the 1970s. Married and moved to Norwich with my partner. One disturbing observation I made years ago is the high incidence of young Black males in institutionalised care. Myself and a group of professional friends from BME background were aware that these young people and others like them needed to be guided in a more positive direction of self-appreciation and fulfilment than the wider society seemed to offer. In 2003 I co-founded a BME support Network which organised a wide range of cultural activities to address BME needs and deal with isolation. I have always been committed to empowerment through the development of full and true potential especially among disenfranchised and disadvantaged groups, with an emphasis on assisting women and the BME community. Awareness of these values has led me to be active on several groups to champion BME issues. I strongly believe that diversity of human cultures should be celebrated and not ignored or ridiculed. • 1990s arrived - “D” I am 50+ years old from South America. I came to live in this country (over 20 years ago) with my English husband. I have worked for the Council, and have done lots of community development work. I am passionately committed to the cause of racial and ethnic harmony and I continue to fight in the struggle to achieve it. I think there is still a lot of work to be done.


Echoes of Isolation & Integration collated by Galya Clark Some Voices & Views as captured in 2015

Galya Clark (from Bulgaria) Will we be fully accepted in the British society? A lot of people come to work or study in Norfolk, some of them with quite good English, whilst others attend informal adult education lessons or City College. Quite often, they study GCSE English and Maths, or go to an Access course with the idea to continue their studies in university. Many people wish to become nurses and sometimes work as medical care assistants in the meantime. When I first arrived in Wymondham, I met a lady, coming from Hong Kong, desperately looking for new friends. Soon, we started to meet together with a few more people from Asia for coffee in our houses. I was the only European one but we understood each other easily, having similar experiences in the UK. Those meetings were extremely helpful for our sense of wellbeing. The little successes make us happy, but the failures depress us. Sometimes we feel sad, frustrated, full of nostalgia for the music of our country, the language etc. It’s not an uncommon mood as many migrants find it difficult to cope with various aspects of life here, for example, the weather, language barrier or the different types of culture and customs.

The newcomers need friends as they haven’t got enough social contacts, or even acquaintances yet to drink coffee together. They are not accustomed to the food or local customs. For them everything is difficult – to apply for a job, to enrol in a course, to open a bank account, to find a place to live. Later, after 2-3 years they are slightly better orientated to the local life, after five, they have a better understanding of the local culture.

As years go by, you start to feel your mortality, realising nothing lasts for ever, time is ticking away and sometimes it’s just too late to change. I work as a dentist and my life is comfortable. Whether I am integrated in ‘British society’ after all these years?... I really don’t know. I feel differently about it in different situations. British people seem to be move private, reserved and perhaps not so knowledgeable about foreigners which tends to make them so unwelcoming. Above all they are polite and professional. Once a foreigner, always a foreigner, that’s how it is, whether you like it or not. At the end of the day it’s about how you feel about it professionally and at home. It’s likely the first 20 years are the hardest - for the immigrant that is.

Maria Mainprize

(from Bulgaria) I have lived in the UK for 18 years. Looking back on this, what a journey that has been! Having qualified recently as a dentist from the University of Medicine in Sofia, Bulgaria, I had no idea what the future held for me in Bulgaria or anywhere. The world was my oyster. Would I do the same thing all over again? I don’t know. Hindsight is a wonderful thing...Do I feel homesick? - definitely! Loads, all the time, more and more! I am not sure if this is being homesick about Bulgaria though, or more likely missing my family who are living there. My parents are getting older (aren’t we all?), me wanting to be there for them and spending quality time together whilst we still can. As much as it is a cliché, time flies....the pace of life in the UK is incredibly fast.

Dina Galazoula

(from Greece) I have been in Wymondham, Norfolk for 7 ½ years now. I am from Athens, Greece. I loved the town centre as it reminded me of a Greek island somehow. I came to England in 1995 with my husband – we went to college when we first came to Norwich nearly 20 years ago. After two years of college, we moved to London where we lived for about 11 years, working mainly at Heathrow Airport before moving back to settle in Norfolk with our two children. Norfolk

is a very nice place to live. England is different to Greece – when I first travelled from Gatwick to Norwich by car, it surprised me how flat it was. In Greece, when you are travelling, there is always greenery and mountains. I like the houses here and how they look similar to each other. The people are very friendly and they accepted me well – I never had any issues. Any problems? The language when I first went to Norwich City College. I realised that being English, they’re obviously all talking at different speeds. I was always thinking that my English is really good but when I came here I realised it wasn’t good enough and I couldn’t keep up with the speed. So this was clearly the most difficult thing I had to face in the beginning at college during the lectures. It was hard to pay attention as I couldn’t understand half of the things they were saying. I haven’t encountered discrimination – in London, most people are foreigners so I felt like I was at home, but when I came to Norwich I felt I was a foreigner. The good thing is that everyone at work is nice and friendly, and they are always curious to know where you are from and what you’re doing. A lot of people are interested in knowing about the economic crisis in Greece, especially at work. When customers find out that I’m Greek, they want to hear my opinion, which I find amusing. I don’t think a lot of Greek people will come to the UK now just because of the crisis. It is true that the level of unemployment in Greece is still very high but they don’t leave easily, they prefer to suffer rather than leave their family and country – that is not easy for them.

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More Voices & Views as captured in 2015

Svetla Georgieva

(from Bulgaria) The life here is quite different from the life in Bulgaria. I work here in different fields. I am a music teacher as well as a musician myself. I was very happy when I found a group of folklore dancers from the Balkan countries in Bungay. I’m a volunteer in the Bungay theatre and as such learn a lot about English culture. I have friends now in the UK. My connection with the Bulgarians is our mutual community. My passion is music and I’m glad that I have pupils here as I seem to be missing Bulgarian children. I play the accordion in restaurants, pubs, care homes, at parties and even on the street”.

Vasilka Kostadinova

(from Bulgaria) - I feel very welcome here I came to the UK nearly three years ago. Visiting England was part of my dream to travel and experience different countries and cultures. I have visited lots of places in England: London, Blackpool, Cambridge, Stratford-uponAvon, Sheffield, Oxford and many others. I have

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also visited Spain, Austria, Belgium, Turkey, Serbia and Macedonia. I’ve learned a bit of English in Bulgaria but not enough to feel confident to communicate with people fluently. And I have managed to successfully graduate with Entry level 3 at City College Norwich and am now enrolled in a higher level course. I feel very welcome here. My new English friends are very polite and help me to improve my English and to adapt. They also help me to understand the culture and customs here in England. For my part, I explain to them about Bulgarian culture and customs. I invited my English friends to the Festival of Cultures to taste Bulgarian homemade food. At that festival other Bulgarians and I performed a Bulgarian national dance ‘Horo’. I was really surprised to find a photo with me in the newspaper and on the internet. It was an exciting experience. I really miss my family and friends I left in Bulgaria. I feel very nostalgic on Christmas day and at Easter.

Olena Earle (from Ukraine) - I really appreciate the quality of the UK emergency medical services If you’d asked me ten years ago, I would probably have answered that rainy UK was not the place I wanted to be. I was happy and settled in the Ukraine with a good job as a medical consultant. But life has a way of presenting new facets and never stands still. After meeting my husband

who is British, I moved to Norfolk together with my daughter, then ten years old. After living in East Anglia for 4 years, it became my new home. The attitude of the English to education is very different to that in the Ukraine. Here, the emphasis is on practical skills and learning through experience. In the Ukraine, it’s much more theoretical and children get hours of home learning every night. During term time, they have no real life beyond school. Being in medicine, I really appreciate the quality of the UK emergency medical services - the skill of the paramedics and the help and facilities in the Accident and Emergency department are excellent. I think the staff deserve a lot more praise than they get. I know there is a lack of staff in the hospitals and for me that means an opportunity to continue my career. The biggest problem I faced after 16 years of working as a consultant in the Ukraine is that I have to start right from the beginning to demonstrate my qualifications, just like a raw medical student. I have personal experience of the several barriers that foreign qualified doctor face which can make a lot of people decide against the idea of continuing their medical careers when they come to Britain, especially those who are older and have most experience to give. When I first came to the UK, my immediate thought was to prepare for the PLAB - the exam all medical doctors have to take in order to qualify - but my husband, suggested I should consider using some of my skills in a different way, at least to begin with. I’m part way through writing a book that I hope will benefit a large number of people. Writing is a new venture for me something I never considered before and I’m really enjoying it. In our spare time we all enjoy art, photography and travel. We’ve visited many

parts of the UK and enjoy cultural events, like the Festival of Cultures that was held recently at the Forum in Norwich. It was fun to put on national dress and see the reaction of people to Ukrainian food. I have no regrets about moving here. I enjoy living in East Anglia, and being surrounded by family and new friends I’ve met here, I regard it as my new home.

Natalia Rymell

(from Russia) - I like travelling around the county I arrived in England recently and have already found new friends. I enjoy meeting new people and discovering more about Norfolk. I am integrating by going to English classes to improve my language skills and I like to keep fit and healthy by going to dance classes where there are many other students from around the world. After lessons we have interesting conversations about different things. Everybody strives to share his or her own experience for adaptation to this country and it’s very useful. Sometimes people bring in traditional food as a treat. I learned a few new interesting recipes for my cooking collection. I have my own cooking website www. russian-chef.com and I am currently developing this project. I am hoping in the near future to start my own property business as I was an estate agent in my home city Novosibirsk, Russia for the last twelve years.


Norwich Lord Mayor’s celebrations are held each year in July. This is an annual not-to-miss family fun day for all

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CAP is the front door to advice and support for carers across Norfolk. If you are looking after a member of your family, friend or neighbour who is ill or frail, has a disability or a mental health problem, or someone who misuses drugs or alcohol, we’re here to help. You have a legal right to ask for information, help and support, for yourself and the person you are caring for. CAP can help you to look after someone who cannot cope without your support. For example, we can help you get: • support for you to take a short break from caring • help with transport and equipment, such as getting a wheelchair for the person you are looking after • information about money, benefits and debt • support to help you stay in work or to get employment • information about housing and suitable accommodation • help to use Social Services or the NHS someone for you to talk to, friendship, emotional support ......and lots more!

Call us: 0808 808 9876 Web: carersagencypartnership.org.uk Email: CAP@carersagencypartnership.org.uk

CAP Norfolk 8

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@CAPNorfolk

Are you looking after someone?


EQUALITY & DIVERSITY images and quotes

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The Bridge Plus Special Christmas Community Cuisines Lunch 2015 A Special Christmas Community Cuisines Lunch by The Bridge Plus+ was held at the ChapelField Methodist Church Hall. Entertainment was provided by the Shinanikins Folk Dance Band of Norfolk and a prayer by Reverend Catherin Hutton who has recently joined the church as its Minister and Superintendent of the Norwich Circuit.

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List of BME Community Organisations This list is subject to change and is constantly been updated. The information was provided by the listed groups. Please note that some of the smaller organisations are very fluid in nature with their lead contacts, who are mainly volunteers, changing very often. Please check our website www.bridgeplus.org.uk for an updated version of the list.

1. AFROLUSO (Portuguese Dance Group in Great Yarmouth) Email:afroluso@hotmail.co.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/afroluso.luso YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ results?search_query=afroluso Tel: 07427662455 2. Anna Mudeka’s Tambai Promotions – African music & dance Websites: http://www.annamudeka.com or http://mudekafoundation.com/about-us Tel: 01362822194 3. Bulgarians in Norwich & Norfolk (BNN) Mailing Address: c/o 30 Esprit close, Wymondham, Norwich, NR18 9LY Contacts: gclark@abv.bg Tel: 0798 605 3330 or rosica_sl@yahoo.com Tel:07591220858 Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/ ueaBulgaria/posts/135667739934013 4. Ethnic Minority Association of Norfolk (in Great Yarmouth) email: Norfolkema@gmail.com or fodaysuso@hotmail.com Tel: 07910922070 5. Filipino Community Group in Norwich – PINAS (Pinoy in Norwich Aksyong Samahan) Mailing Address: 113 Nursery Close Norwich, NR6 5SH email: tess.ward@hotmail.com Tel: 07964048305 6. Gambian African Network (GAN) Main Contact: Mr. Abdoulie Mendy Mailing Address; C/o The Bridge Plus+, Suite 209-Sackvile Business Place, Magdalen Street, Norwich NR3 1JU Tel: 07886109568 7. GYROS-Great Yarmouth Resettlement & Orientation Services Mailing Address: 26-27, King Street, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2PQ email 1: admin@gyros.org.uk email 2: info@gyros.org.uk Tel: 01493 745260 8. Hala’s House 2 Home – Resettlement support project with Arabic interpreting support. Mailing address: The Stage, 52 St. Augustine’s Street, Norwich, NR3 3AD email: halasamir@live.com website: www.norwichhouse2home.com Tel: 07808135376

9. NAGO (Norfolk Alliance Gender Organisation) - Aims to prevent and raise awareness about harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital mutilation (FGM), sexual exploitation, early marriage, forced marriage, child trafficking and witchcraft. Mailing Address: 25 Swafield Street, Bowthorpe, Norwich, NR5 9EB Main Contact: Alhajie Saidykhan email : nagonorfolk@gmail.com Website: www.nagonorfolk.com Tel: 07584210841 10. NEAD (Norfolk Education & Action for Development) - explores global justice & equality issues, linking them to local issues and life-style. Mailing Address: Charing Cross Centre, 17–19 St John Maddermarket, Norwich, NR2 1DN. Website: www.nead.org.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/NEADorgUk Twitter: @NEAD_Norfolk Tel: 01603 610993 11. Nepalese Community Network Contact: Dev Ghimire email: devghimire@gmail.com Contact: Neelam/Mahesh 07723 327 453 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dev. ghimire.180 Tel: 0750065816 12. New Routes Mailing Address: Norwich Social Centre, Catherine Wheel Opening, St Augustine’s St, Norwich, NR3 3BQ email 1: info@newroutes.org.uk email 2: projects@newroutes.org.uk Tel 1: 01603 662648 Tel 2: 07799661009 13. Norfolk Congolese Association (NOCA) Chairman: Elvis Beya Mobile: 07576684000 or Tel: 01603290015 email: info@noca.org.uk Web: www.noca.org.uk 14. NORFRESA (Norfolk French Speakers Association) Mailing Address; C/o The Bridge Plus+ Plus, Suite 209-Sackvile Business Place, Magdalen Street, Norwich NR3 1JU email: koulounger@yahoo.fr 15. Norwich Association of Malayalese-Indians (NAM) Website: http://www.norwichmalayalees.co.uk/ Contact: Jason 0776141528 16. Norwich Asylum Seekers and Refugees Forum (NASREF) - is an open membership meeting group comprising of organisations or individual involved with support, advice or delivery of services to asylum seekers and refugees within Norwich. email 1: nasref1@gmail.com 17. Norwich Congolese Community Group Chairman: Odon Kasera Mobile: 074 044 69157 email: elvisbeya19@yahoo.co.uk

18. Norwich International Youth Project (NIYP) Project Co-ordinator: Rachael Martis email: r.martis@niyp.org.uk Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ norwichinternationalyouthproject Website: http://www.niyp.org.uk/home.html Tel: 07964 719 796 19. Norwich United Karate Coordinator’s Contact: 074 044 69157 email: kaseramurhula@yahoo.co.uk 20. One Love United Football Club - established May 2010. Membership includes people from diverse backgrounds, Europe, Africa, Asia and UK. Main Contact: Gordon Turner-Chairman email: gt21@talktalk.net email2: Junior De Silva jjsjunior@hotmail.co.uk Tel: 07737 412288 21. Ormiston Families at HMP Norwich Mailing Address: The Visitors Centre, HMP Norwich, Knox Road, Norwich, NR1 4LU debbie.campbell@ormiston.org Tel: 01603 702301 22. Polish Community (Norwich) Main Contact: Iwona Paciorkowska email: iwona77@live.co.uk Tel: 07923297325 23. Saudi Society Club of Norfolk – offers activities for children and women. Mailing Address: c/o Bowthorpe Hall, Norwich NR5 9AA. Main Contact: Amani Alsiary email : umkhaled5@gmail.com Tel: 07702491810 24. The Neesa project - is a voluntary group which provides social and education activities for women and children. email: theneesaproject@yahoo.co.uk Website: www.theneesaproject.co.uk Tel: 07852 732 799 25. WORD Trust International - A widows and Orphans Relief and Development Trust-Supporting widows, widowers, single parents and orphans. Mailing Address: New Hope Christian Centre. Martineau Lane, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 2 HX, UK Main Contact: Everjoice Makuve email: wordorphan2003@yahoo.co.uk Website, www.wordtrustinternational.com/ Tel: +44(0)1603 617905, 01603926118 +44(0)7588487957. (0)7969810239 26. Zimbabwe Community Association of Norfolk (ZIMCAN) email: zimcan@live.co.uk Website: www.zimcan.btck.co.uk Main Contact: Francis Nhamo. Tel: 07956437813 Compiled by The Bridge Plus+ a Norfolk based black/Asian and minority ethnic (BME) organisation. Tel 01603 617 076 or email: office@bridgeplus.org.uk

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Can you afford to bring your family member to the UK? Many British workers cannot afford the £18,600 minimum income required to bring a family member to the UK according to an Oxford University finding.

T

he UK government introduced a new minimum income requirement for family migration from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) in 2012. Those British nationals who wish to sponsor a non-EEA spouse need to demonstrate a minimum annual income of £18,600. The Migration Observatory from Oxford University concludes that 43% of British employees would not be able to meet the £18,600 earnings imposed by the Home Office for British and UK permanent residents (ILR) who want to bring their wife, child or other family members to the UK. “Migration is one of the UK’s hotbutton issues - and one of the hottest aspects of that is the right to bring in a spouse and children.” If the British national wants to bring one child in addition to the spouse the minimum income requirement increases to £22,400. If the British national wants to bring more than one child then he or she must show evidence of an extra £2,400 of income for every additional child. This is an uncommon scenario in the UK migration debate as the restriction limits the rights of British nationals. Immigration policies typically restrict the rights of foreign nationals. Moreover, other EU nationals are protected by EU law and not subject to the same restrictions. They can bring non-EEA spouses to the UK with no conditions attached. Unsurprisingly, this policy has been the source of much debate. Discrimination-Migrant rights groups have complained that the policy discriminates against lower-income individuals. They have emphasised that a full-time worker earning the National Minimum Wage (about £13,500 per year) would not be able to sponsor a non-EEA spouse. Groups campaigning for reduced immigration have claimed that it is ‘absurd’ to have restrictions on the right of British nationals to bring family members from abroad, while other EU nationals do not have the same restrictions. The British media has highlighted the ways in which couples are possibly ‘cheating’ the minimum income requirement. The ‘Surinder Singh’ route, a way for UK nationals to sidestep the rules by living in another EU country for a period and exercising their rights as EU nationals, has become a common topic in public discussion and the UK government has adjusted the rules in order to restrict the use of this route.

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In order to have a clear discussion of the repercussions of the minimum income requirement it is important to understand who is actually affected by this requirement. Previous work from the Migration Observatory and other organisations has provided insights in this regard. However, the minimum income requirement has remained fixed at £18,600 since 2012 and economic conditions have changed considerably since then. In the discussion below we use data from the Labour Force Survey (second quarter of 2014) to estimate the share of British nationals working as employees who do not earn enough money to sponsor a nonEEA spouse. Before presenting the results it is important to highlight a few caveats. First, the estimates do not include those who are unemployed or in self-employment. Second, we only focus on British nationals of working age (16 to 64 years old). What share of British employees does not earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse? An estimated 43% of the British nationals who are employees do not earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse. When it comes to sponsoring a non-EEA spouse and a child, 53% don’t reach the threshold and that number rises to 58% for sponsoring a non-EEA spouse and two children. How is this share affected by demographic factors? This ruling hits some demographic groups harder than others. Women for example: while 28% of British males working as employees don’t earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse, this share is 57% for their female counterparts. And, as you would imagine, this figure rises considerably when children are taken into account: an estimated 67% of British female employees do not earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse and one child and this rises to 72% when there are two children involved.

The ruling also hits some ethnic groups harder than others: 43% of ‘white’ employees do not earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse, but this rises to 51% for ‘non-white’ employees. Taking children into account, about 53% of ‘white’ employees don’t earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse with one child and this rises to 59% for ‘non-white’ employees. And so on. It hits younger people particularly hard British nationals in their 20s are particularly unlikely to earn enough to sponsor a nonEEA spouse (60% do not earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse). It helps if you are highly educated - in fact, particularly noticeable disparities can be found across educational levels. Among those who have completed higher education or have a degree, only 24% do not earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse. This rises to 55% for those who have GCSEs or A levels. If you haven’t any of those qualifications you face a big hurdle: about 76% of British employees who have no qualifications would be unable to sponsor a spouse and this rises to 86% when there is one child involved. Love isn’t all you need-UK policies for non-EEA migration favour those individuals with higher-paying jobs. The minimum income requirement for bringing a non-EEA spouse differentiates among British nationals along the same lines. However, the minimum income restriction also has important indirect effects across gender, ethnicity, education, age and place of residence. More than half of British employees who are women, non-white, without higher education or in their 20s do not earn enough to sponsor a non-EEA spouse. Source: http://www. migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/ commentary/love-and-money-howimmigration-policy-discriminatesbetween-families


Gambian African Women’s Network

Sona & her Gambian African Women’s Network of friends presented a spectacular event which was attended by over 250 people in September 2015. These images share celebrations of African tradition and culture. You will see children dressed to showcase the different tribal costumes of Gambia; people in dance circles, and a Norfolk based musical band with lead singer, Jali Seyfo, playing a traditional Gambian music instrument, the KORA.

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Your MP & Your Immigration Matter Your MP & Your Immigration Problem How does your MP deal with problems? The job of an MP is to represent the people of his or her constituency in Parliament, whether or not they voted for him or her. You only have one MP so even if you voted for one of the other candidates and you disagree with the views of your MPs party, your MP is still there to help you with all matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible.

What can your MP do to help you?

MPs can help with matters for which Parliament or a central government department is responsible for. Your MP is not there to help you in private disputes with other individuals or with companies who have sold you faulty goods, nor, for example, to interfere with decisions made by courts. Most people would go to see their MP as the last option, simply because they do not know who else could help them. An MP can be effective in dealing with your personal matter involving a government department. This is because MPs have a direct line of communication with government departments and they can get responses to most enquiries much quicker than an ordinary person. Please note that MPs are very busy people with lots of political commitments dealing with matters outside of their local area, so most of your initial enquiries will be dealt with by an MP’s local office staff.

Where your problem does involve central government, your MP has a number of methods available to try to resolve the matter. This will generally involve the MP’s office writing to the relevant department about the issue, to which the department will have to provide a response. Generally the response would provide clarity to the matter and or result in a favourable outcomes and therefore no further action may be needed from your MP. If the response in unsatisfactory, your MP may decide to take matters a stage further by writing to the Minister involved, or even making an appointment to see the Minister personally. Many people’s problems can be solved in this way but not all problems, of course, have an easy solution. The Minister may not be able to give the answer that you wanted to hear but if the decision has been made in the right way, there may be little that can be done.

According to one former very experienced Norwich MP about immigration cases: • As an MP, I cannot get involved in helping you with anything illegal • My involvement in your immigration case as an MP does not necessarily mean your problem will be solved, but at least I will get a response within a reasonable time • An MP’s involvement could trigger further action from the immigration authorities, which may not be favourable To which we add that a good MP’s office:

• Will always keep you update regularly • Will make and keep appointments and let you know if there are any changes in a scheduled appointment

Ways to contact your MP • In Person-Call your MP’s local office and ask to be booked for an appointment to be seen during one of your MP’s local surgeries. The majority of MPs have times when they are available at different places within their constituency to meet people and discuss problems with them. • Write to him or her at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or use their local office address. Writing a letter detailing your problem, rather than telephoning, is a good idea as you can explain things clearly and your MP will have the written details of your case which he or she may find useful to refer to later. • You can telephone your MP’s office or call the House of Commons switchboard 020-7219 3000 and ask to be connected to the appropriate MPs office. And finally, merely having an MP involved in you immigration matter may not solve your problems. It is always best to get legal advice before going to see your MP, as your solicitor may be best placed to tell if your matter requires involving an MP. Some of the information included above is derived from the House of Commons Factsheet.

6. Chloe Smith MP

2. Brandon Lewis MP

7. Clive Lewis MP

3. George Freeman MP

8. Richard Bacon MP

4. Norman Lamb MP -

9. Elizabeth Truss MP

5. Henry Bellingham MP

Member of European Parliament (MEP)

Great Yarmouth Conservative Tel: 01493 652928 email: brandon.lewis.mp@parliament.uk Mid Norfolk Conservative Tel: 01953 600617 email: george.freeman.mp@parliament.uk

North Norfolk Liberal Democrat Tel: 01692 403752 email: norman.lamb.mp@parliament.uk

North West Norfolk Conservative Tel: 01553 692076 email: bellinghamh@parliament.uk

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• Will quickly respond to your calls, letters and other forms of correspondences

1. Keith Simpson MP

Broadland Conservative Tel: 01603 865763 email: keithsimpson2015@gmail.com

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• Will clearly explain their role and responsibility towards you

Norwich North Conservative Tel: 01603 414756 email: chloe@chloesmith.org.uk Norwich South Labour Tel: 01603 510755 email: clive.lewis.mp@parliament.uk

South Norfolk Conservative Tel: 01379 643728 email: richardbaconmp@parliament.uk

South West Norfolk Conservative Tel: 01842 757345 email: elizabeth.truss.mp@parliament.uk

Richard Howitt

Labour Tel: 01223 240202 e-mail: richard@richardhowittmep.com


DOs & DON’ts & Did You Know • Did you know that Free WIFI is now available in Norwich City centre as of December 2015 • Did you know that 79% of benefits sanctions are overturned on appeal. • From October 2015, it will be illegal to be smoking with a child in a car • Did you know that you can book your hospital appointments online at www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk provided the hospital has sent you an appointment letter • Did you know that Mental Health is not the same as being crazy. Although for most people from other cultures any use of the word mental simply means crazy, we are all familiar with the idea of how the feeling of being lonely and a bit isolated can impact on our mental health. It is this kind of craziness we are talking about when they say mental health in the UK. Get help before it is too late.

• UK: 180 million books were printed in the UK in 2014. • Nearly all of Britain’s 69,000 ATM machines can be monitored. Meaning if you use any of them, you can be traced to them. There are over 8000 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras on the motorways in UK. So each time you are on the road your number plate will leave a motorway camera trail. • Every year, it is estimated that 350,000 people move house because of problems with their neighbours. • In the 1970’s, there were “Men Only” bars in Britain • ONE million Chinese migrated to live in Africa for business and economic reasons • China is now the highest grower of coffee, and its smoking population is more than the entire population of USA • Many of those arriving on the shores of Europe are fleeing conflict, violence and persecution and have survived horrific journeys, taking great personal risks to get here.

• As of end 8th June 2015, the green paper counterpart of the UK driver’s license has been abolished. The paper version was introduced back in 1998 to record things such as penalty point, which will now be recorded electronically. • A High Court judge decides that a bit of spanking should be allowed. This was in a case in which the judge reasoned that proper allowance should be made for the fact that the family came from foreign culture. • According to ITV, 380 million portions of fish & chips are consumed each year in Britain; and that there are 9 million pet dogs in UK, showing for “our love of dogs”.

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FOR_ BMeMag_advert_184x135mm_Art2.indd 1

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Dates shaded white must be open for pupils. Yellow shading indicates pupil holiday. Red shading indicates bank holiday. Five Professional Development days must be taken within pupil holidays, we suggest 2 September, 22-23 October, 4 January and 21 July.

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Norfolk Celebrates Black History Month

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very year in the month of October, Norfolk Black History Month presents many events across Norwich and Norfolk to help promote diversity, challenge prejudice and engage with Norfolk’s diverse communities. Below are images from of the official launch of the 2015 events held at Norwich City Council graced with the presence of MP Clive Lewis of Norwich South, Jenny McKibben, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, and retiring Norfolk Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams, who has provided years of dedication and support to promoting diversity in Norfolk. According to Abraham Eshetu, Chair of Norfolk Black History Month, “Norfolk Black History Month (BHM) brings a diverse set of people together to celebrate the contribution of Black people past and present. It provides a platform for promoting community cohesion through building trust and confidence among our diverse communities. It also gives everyone the opportunity and confidence to look into, and appreciate, their own and others history and heritage.” To find out more about the Black History Month visit the Norfolk Black History Month website http://www. norfolkblackhistorymonth.org.uk

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NORWICH INTEGRATION

NIP partners are three Norfolk based organisations: New Routes, The Bridge Plus+ and English+ NIP works with Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Norwich, especially recently settled individuals, to increase: • confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing through the interventions and activities delivered • knowledge, information and self-reliance • circles of acquaintance, cultural understanding and participation in the wider community

NIP will refer to specialist support organisations where useful. NIP aims to ensure that community engagement represents the ethnic diversity of Norwich.

Activities Mentoring & Befriending Project:

Activities Are you looking for Information and Advice on a range of issues? Do you need help with your job search? The aim of The Bridge Plus+ is to improve community cohesion through innovative community engagement activities and service delivery, with a focus on supporting Black/Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

What we offer

• Information and advice on a range of issues such as benefits, equality and access to services • Help with form filling • Employability skills training: help with job search, CVs, application forms and interview techniques • Support with accessing volunteering opportunities • Peer to peer support opportunities e.g. community lunches & community engagement activities • Signposting and referrals to local support services and community groups

Appointments available: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am – 3pm Telephone: 01603 617076 Please leave a voice message if not answered 18

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offers weekly one-to-one support sessions to recently settled ethnic minorities to: • increase cross-cultural understanding and friendship • aid orientation • improve language skills • access local learning and social opportunities • identify and achieve long-term goals

Women’s International Friendship Group: Mondays: 10.00 – 1.00 English language classes for beginners and more advanced; plus international cuisine lunch. Dance/Exercise class 1.30-2.30 Tuesdays & Thursdays: 10.00-3.00 International Workshop English language class 11.00-2.00 plus lunch

International Families Club Saturdays: 3.00-5.30 Creative activities in a safe and inclusive environment. The culturally diverse focus builds awareness of the richness of dance, music and art from around the world and encourages mutual respect.

New Routes Youth Programmes: Mixed Martial Arts - Homework Support Club Music Club – Youth Mentoring


PARTNERSHIP

The project started 1st June 2015 and was officially launched on the 8th October 2015 at New Routes’ Norwich Social Centre

Activities Do you need to improve your English? We offer free English classes for all levels from beginner to advanced. Classes are open to all with small group sizes. Build your spoken and written English in a friendly and supportive environment. Monday 10am to 12 noon: St Augustine’s Church Hall, St Augustine’s Street, Norwich NR3 3BY Thursday 10am to 12 noon: Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Norwich NR2 2BJ

What we also offer: To develop friendships, build community and help with integration we provide: • lunches and community events • drop in art sessions • signposting and referrals • support and information • outings

CONTACTS: New Routes Norwich Social Centre, Catherine Wheel Opening, St Augustines St, Norwich NR3 3BQ Office: 01603 662648 projects@newroutes.org.uk www.newroutes.org.uk

The Bridge Plus+ Suite 209 Sackville Place, 44-48 Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR3 1JU 01603 617 076 office@bridgeplus.org.uk www.bridgeplus.org.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebridgeplus

English+ St Augustines Hall, Norwich NR3 3BY 07951067435 info@englishplus.org.uk

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EMA

(Ethnic Minority Association) Cultural Event – October 2015

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Are you looking after someone? If you’re looking after a relative or friend who is ill, frail or disabled, or who misuses drugs or alcohol, you are a carer and have a legal right to information, advice, help and support.

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ocal research has shown that in some cultures it is more usual to keep your problems to yourself and not to open up and talk about them. In others, it is considered a natural duty to look after a sick or disabled relation or friend, without seeking any help from outside the family or community, when it becomes difficult to cope. People can struggle to look after their relation or friend, sometimes for years. They can then become ill themselves as a result of the emotional, financial and practical demands of caring. The new Care Act means that everyone living in Norfolk who is looking after someone else, has a legal right to information, advice and support. The Carers Agency Partnership (CAP) is a group of seven experienced charities, based in Norfolk, that is here to help. CAP provides the front door to support and help in your community, whether you have just started caring for somebody or whether you have been caring for some time. Kevin Vaughan, CAP Manager, says: “Thousands of people get in touch with the Carers Agency Partnership (CAP) each year looking for information and advice on a diverse range of topics including: help with household tasks such as shopping; information about equipment such as wheelchairs, housing adaptations and transport, how to get help with money and benefits, or to take a break from caring. CAP also offers a listening ear and emotional support, as caring for a relation or friend can have a major effect on your relationships, everyday life and your own health and wellbeing. We can also help you understand the social care and health system and how to get in

touch with the right source of help and support, if and when you need it.” CAP has helped a number of members of the Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority community: We supported a woman who is caring for her husband, who has Parkinson’s Disease, to get the money to make adjustments to her property so her husband could have a wash in the bathroom instead of the kitchen sink. This was easier for her and was much better for his dignity CAP helped another woman to take a short break by arranging care for the person she was caring for, which helped her to attend to personal business. In another case, CAP helped a Black Caribbean carer who was suffering from lack of sleep and also feeling socially isolated. We helped him to get emotional support, someone to talk to, short breaks and access to a Carers Assessment – a check to find out what help and support he thinks he needs. If you are a carer or know somebody in your community, perhaps in your place of worship or faith group, at language class, in your social circle or at work, who is looking after a relation or friend, the CAP

Helpline number is:

0808 808 9876

Website: www.carersagencypartnership.org.uk Twitter: @CAPNorfolk Facebook: CAP Norfolk B-Me VOICES

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Wise words, wits & Humours

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Citizens UK campaign to help find 5,000 homes for Syrian refugees

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itizens UK has been campaigning to get local authorities to pledge to resettle 50 refugees each. Many councils are willing, but they need help to find appropriate homes for families in the private rented sector. Citizens UK can help by getting landlords to join their Homes for Resettled Refugees Register. Landlords can sign up on this Homes for Resettled Refugees Register if they: - own a family-sized rental property in the UK; - would be prepared to offer it as a home for a Syrian refugee

family if it is vacant when there is demand in that area; - can offer a 3 year tenancy to enable the family to have some stability when they arrive; - are able rent out the property for the Local Housing Allowance Rate in their area. The first 12 months of the rent will be paid for by the European Union under a scheme for placing vulnerable refugees. Please follow this link for more information: http://www.citizensuk.org/ Help find 5,000 homes for Syrian refugees

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The Truth about Stop Search

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magine you are walking along the street minding your own business and a police officer stops you and tells you they want to search you. What would your reaction be? Well for most people they would think why, I haven’t done anything wrong, they can’t possible do that can they? Police Officers do have the power to stop and search you but they must have reasonable grounds to do so. This means that they have to have a good enough reason, they can’t just stop you because they don’t like the look of you, or they don’t know you and haven’t seen you in the area before. So what type of reason might a police officer give you, well it may be because you fit a description of someone they are looking for. A crime may have been recently committed nearby and the victim or a witness has given a description of the person who the police are looking for, who for example was wearing a green jumper and blue jeans, this matches what you are wearing and you are in the location (or nearby) to where the crime happened . This means the police have a good enough reason to stop you and ask you some questions; they may even decide to search you. A police officer can

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also stop and search you if they suspect that you are carrying drugs, weapons or stolen property. Or they suspect you could have items on you which could be used to commit a crime or act of terrorism, or to cause criminal damage. Officers must not base their grounds for a search on your appearance, ethnic background, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or the fact that you may have committed a crime in the past. There are times, however, when a police officer can search anyone within a specific area, for example when there is evidence that serious violence could take place there or where a terrorist threat has been identified. Searches are usually carried out on the street where you have been stopped but sometimes you may be taken to somewhere more private. If you are in your car then the police can also stop you if they suspect your vehicle contains drugs, weapons or stolen goods. Before an officer searches you or your vehicle they have to tell you that you must wait to be searched, why they are searching you, their name and collar number, the station they work at and what they are looking for. They must also provide you with a form showing details of the stop and search they have

just carried out. This should be given at the time but can be given later if the police officer is called away urgently while dealing with you. When a police officer stops and searches you they must at all times treat you fairly and with respect. If you feel that this has not happed you are encouraged to let us know. You can either do this by ringing the non-emergency number 101, or by contacting the Police and Crime Commissioners Office on 01953 424455, or you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or speak to a solicitor. Norfolk Constabulary regularly checks that stop searches are carried out fairly by meeting with community representatives who sit on our Independent Stop Search Scrutiny Panel. The aim of the panel is to look at the individual stop searches and check them to ensure that they are legal searches and have been carried out correctly. If you would be interested in helping Norfolk Constabulary look in detail at the searches we carry out, and help shape the future of Stop and Search we would like to hear from you. Please contact Julie Inns by dialling 101 or email innsj@norfolk.pnn.police.uk This article was provided by Julie Inns of the Norfolk Police Diversity Team.


Funeral in Congolese Community

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n the 12th August 2015, the Congolese Community in Norwich was struck by the sudden sad news of the death of two of its finest young stars, Bonheur Musungay aged 14 and Stella Kambi aged 17. Both of them died as a result of drowning in the St Andrews Broad in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich. According to the mother of Bonheur: We have received a lot of help and support from the community and we would like to thank everyone for all the love and kindness. It was a hard time. We wouldn’t know what to do and it was really a major cultural challenge for us to because of how the process works. Because it was an accident, the police had to take the lead, which meant we had minimal involvement or control over the matter. In Africa we would have had immediate access to the bodies, but here we had to wait for several days until the police concluded their investigations. You never really know what an impact death can have on you and your family in the UK until it happens in your family. There was no way we would have been able to afford it without support. This we really appreciated. The incident has really affected me and I still don’t feel well. When you see other children going to school and yours is no longer one of them, it hurts. However, we had a lot of support from the police, the council and the community at large. We would really want to say a very big thank you to the Congolese community who have been very supportive. Our thanks also goes out to all those who have attended the funeral or send their support in one way or the other.

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The Body Building Champion from Basra, IRAQ

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champion has arrived from Basra, Iraq. Barely a year in the UK, Mohammed Al-Sadoon, a professional body builder is already making a name for himself in the UK body building community. Mohammed graduated with a law degree from Basra University in Iraq. He had a good job as the resident legal officer for Basra Hospital, which meant all legal matters relating to the hospital had to pass through him. His role included investigating accidental deaths and malpractices. Mohammed said, “Although my job was dangerous, I liked it, but my safety and security was always a concern. I took on body building as a hobby and went on to become a national champion in Iraq.” Although he has no official sponsor, with the support of a network of friends and well-wishers, he managed to take part in the Anglian Body building contest and won his first UK prize. Mohammed like many other immigrants still has his family back home. “I had a decent home, nice car, my family. I really miss my wife and three children. I wish I never had to leave them behind”

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Seeking asylum Seeking refuge 1685 Huguenots flee persecution from Louis XIV in France 1800s German refugees arrive in Bristol 1890s Jews escape Russia to settle in UK 1937 4,000 Basques flee Spain 1933-39 50,000 Jews escape Nazi Germany 1939 100,000 refugees run from the threat of war 1945-60 50,000 cross the Iron Curtain of the Eastern bloc 1956 21,000 Hungarians flee the Soviet invasion 1972 28,000 Asians expelled from Uganda arrive in the UK

1973-79 3,000 Chileans escape the Pinochet murder squads 1975-92 24,000 ‘boat people’ get out of Vietnam 1992-96 2,500 Bosnians flee war and ‘ethnic cleansing’ 1995-99 4,000 Kosovans flee war 2002 14,570 seek sanctuary from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq 7,000 flee the Taliban in Afghanistan 7,655 flee from Zimbabwe 2004-8 Claims for asylum in the UK fall dramatically 2008-today Conflict remains the main reason for people seeking refuge.

source: UNHCR 2012 Asylum Trends Report, South West Migrant Forum, Refugee Council, Home Office

2 Germany

Those applying for refuge after fleeing a fear of persecution

1

USA takes the most asylum

64,500

applications with 83,400

3 France

Sweden 4

54,900

43,900

Asylum Seekers – UK 2012 14,062 enforced removals 29,265 voluntary departures 13,789 refused entry at ports

5 UK 27,400

£36.62 per week benefit payable to asylum seekers

0.3%

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work

One person in 370 in the UK is a refugee, asylum seeker or a stateless person

Where do UK asylum seekers flee from? 2012 TOP TEN Pakistan 3,280 Iran 2,659 Sri Lanka 1,744 India 1,087 Bangladesh 1,057 Afghanistan 1,008 Syria 998 Nigeria 959 Albania 819 Eritrea 728

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source: HM Govt Immigration Statistics

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Personal allowances Single – under 25 _________________________ 57.90 – 25+ _____________________________ 73.10 Lone parent – under 18 ____________________ 57.90 – 18+ ________________________ 73.10 Couple – both under 18 ______________57.90 / 87.50 – one under 18 _______ 57.90 / 73.10 / 114.85 – both aged 18+ ___________________ 114.85 Dependent children________________________ 66.90 Premiums Carer ___________________________________ 34.60 Disability – single _________________________ 32.25 – couple_________________________ 45.95 Disabled child ____________________________ 60.06 Enhanced disability – single person/lone parent _ 15.75 – couple ________________ 22.60 – child __________________ 24.43 Family __________________________________ 17.45 Pensioner – single (JSA only) ________________ 78.10 – couple _______________________ 116.00 Severe disability – per qualifying person _______ 61.85

• Employment and Support Allowance Basic allowance(a) – single/lone parent ________ 73.10 – couple___________73.10 / 114.85 Work-related activity component _____________ 29.05 Support component _______________________ 36.20 Carer, enhanced disability, pensioner(b) & severe disability premiums paid at same rate as Income Support/JSA

• Pension Credit Minimum guarantee Single _________________________________ 151.20 Couple_________________________________ 230.85 Additional amounts Severe disability (per qualifying person) _______ 61.85 Carer ___________________________________ 34.60 Savings Credit Threshold – single _______________________ 126.50 – couple _______________________ 201.80 Maximum – single_________________________ 14.82 – couple ________________________ 17.43

• Universal Credit

(c)

Standard allowances Single – under 25 _______________________ 251.77 – 25+ ___________________________ 317.82 Couple – both under 25 ___________________ 395.20 – one or both aged 25+ _____________ 498.89 Child elements Only/eldest child _________________________ 277.08 Other children ___________________________ 231.67 Disabled child elements Lower rate______________________________ 126.11 Higher rate _____________________________ 367.92 Limited capability elements For work _______________________________ 126.11 For work and work–related activity __________ 315.60 Carer element _________________________ 150.39 Childcare costs elements (maximum) 1 child _________________________________ 532.29 2+ children _____________________________ 912.50

• Housing Benefit(d) Personal Allowances Single person/lone parent – aged 65+ ________ 166.05 Couple – both under 18 ____________________ 87.50 – one under 18 ____________________ 114.85 – one or both aged 65+ _____________ 248.30 Premiums Family – lone parent rate ___________________ 22.20

• Working Tax Credit(e) Basic element _________________________ 1,960.00 Couple/lone parent _____________________ 2,010.00 30 hours element ________________________ 810.00 Disability element ______________________ 2,970.00 Severe disability element ________________ 1,275.00 Childcare costs (70% of up to) 1 child (weekly rate) ____________________ 175.00 2+ children (weekly rate) ________________ 300.00

• Child Tax Credit(e) Family element __________________________ 545.00 Child element _________________________ 2,780.00 Disabled child _________________________ 3,140.00 Severely disabled child __________________ 1,275.00

• Attendance Allowance Lower rate_______________________________ 55.10 Higher rate ______________________________ 82.30

• Bereavement Benefits Bereavement Allowance aged 45–54 _____________________ 33.77–104.67 standard rate __________________________ 112.55 Widowed Parent’s Allowance ________________ 112.55 child dependant _________________________ 11.35 (f)

• Carer’s Allowance

___________________ 62.10

Adult dependant __________________________ 36.55 Child dependant __________________________ 11.35 (f)

• Child Benefit Only/eldest child __________________________ 20.70 Other children ____________________________ 13.70

• Disability Living Allowance Care component Mobility component

lower rate ___________ 21.80 middle rate __________ 55.10 higher rate __________ 82.30 lower rate ___________ 21.80 higher rate __________ 57.45

• Employment and Support Allowance Basic allowance(a) _________________________ 73.10 Work-related activity component _____________ 29.05 Support component _______________________ 36.20

• Guardian’s Allowance________________ 16.55 • Incapacity Benefit Long term ______________________________ 105.35 age addition under 35 ____________ 11.15 aged 35–44 ___________ 6.20 adult dependant ________________________ 61.20 child dependant _________________________ 11.35 (f)

• Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Standard rate _____________________ 33.60–168.00

• Jobseeker’s Allowance Under 25 ________________________________ 57.90 25+ ____________________________________ 73.10

• Maternity Allowance Standard rate ___________________________ 139.58

• Personal Independence Payment Daily living component Mobility component

standard rate ________ 55.10 enhanced rate ________ 82.30 standard rate ________ 21.80 enhanced rate ________ 57.45

• Retirement Pension Cat A __________________________________ 115.95 Cat B late spouse’s or civil partner’s NI _______ 115.95 Cat B spouse’s or civil partner’s NI____________ 69.50 Cat D non contributory, aged 80 or over _______ 69.50 Age addition (aged 80 or over) _______________ 0.25 Adult dependant (with Cat A) ________________ 65.70 Child dependant (with Cat A and B) ___________ 11.35 (f)

• Severe Disablement Allowance

aged under 40 _______ 11.15 aged 40–49 ___________ 6.20 aged 50–59 ___________ 6.20 Adult dependant __________________________ 36.75 Child dependant __________________________ 11.35 (f)

• Statutory Adoption, Maternity,

Paternity and Shared Parental Pay _ 139.58

• Statutory Sick Pay

___________________ 88.45

(a) Paid at a reduced rate to certain claimants during 13 week assessment phase. (b) Reduced where claimant entitled to ESA component. (c) Monthly amounts. Universal Credit benefit cap applied at £2,167 for couples and lone parents; and £1,517 for single people. (d) Where different to Income Support, income-based JSA, ESA or Pension Credit. Housing Benefit cap applied at £500/week for couples and lone parents; and £350/week for single people. (e) Annual amounts. First threshold £6,420 (£16,105 if not entitled to WTC). (f) Reduced for an eldest/only child where CB is payable.

news case law discussion advice support jobs training welfare rights debt employment housing community care

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_____ 74.65

Age addition

rightsnet.org.uk 28

• Income Support & income-based JSA

non means tested

benefit and tax credit rates

means tested

2015/2016

EMPLOYMENT & BENEFITS


Is the UK’s 2015 Immigration Bill discriminatory? Is the UK Immigration Bill 2015 discriminatory? You must read this if you’re an immigrant and or a Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority

T

he Immigration Bill 2015-16 contains an unprecedented expansion of the powers of immigration officials to detain individuals, to seize property, and to otherwise interfere with everyday activities, often on the mere suspicion that someone involved is in the UK without authorisation. The Bill comprises measures which will encourage discrimination against minorities whether British Citizens or migrants. It will encourage exploitation of migrant workers, by removing all safeguards and protections from them, and will help to create an underclass of people removed from the protection of the law. This can only increase social ills, wage theft and abuse, and divide communities. Here is an initial look at some of the most important provisions of the Bill. ILLEGAL WORKING The Bill creates a new offence of illegal working and allows immigration officials wide ranging powers to seize property, to seize earnings, to close down businesses, to enter and search properties, and focusses on small businesses such as late-night takeaways, off-licenses etc. Those working illegally in the UK are already at risk from deportation and it appears unlikely that the additional measures will materially impact on the numbers. What it will do, is to drive workers further away from any kind of interaction with authority. Employers of such workers will hold huge power over them, and this measure will increase exploitation and the number of people in a condition of modern day slavery. The business sectors targeted are those where people of migrant background have established themselves on high streets across the country. These are small businesses who will be less able to deal with the additional burden of carrying out and recording frequent and complex immigration checks. Meanwhile, there is very little in the Bill to address the problem of large corporations in cleaning, logistics, and agriculture who exploit workers and drive down wages. LANDLORDS AND TENANTS Landlords across the country will now be liable for a fine or for imprisonment for up to five years if they let out a property to a migrant without the ‘right to rent’, instead of merely a fine as set out in the 2014 Immigration Act. In some circumstances

they will be guilty of an offence even if that migrant isn’t the tenant named on the lease, but simply someone staying in the property. This scheme was piloted across the West Midlands, but despite promising to review the pilot scheme before rolling it out country-wide, the government is now intent on pressing ahead, and widening its scope and increasing the severity of the punishments. Research from amongst others, the Economist, and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants shows that this policy encourages discrimination. The right to rent policy encourages discrimination against tenants who look or sound foreign. There are hundreds of different documents that can show someone has the right to be in the country, and even experts can struggle to ascertain status. Landlords have prospective tenants queuing up for rooms, and the evidence suggests that when facing a hefty fine or prison many will simply refuse anybody who they are sceptical about and turn to someone who is obviously a British citizen. This will drive many into the hands of slum landlords who will use their position to abuse and exploit them. BANK ACCOUNTS & DRIVING LICENSES The Bill introduces a new criminal offence of driving in the UK whilst an migrant without status and measures requiring banks and building societies to take action in respect of existing accounts held by undocumented migrants & duty on banks and building societies to perform periodic checks and to notify the Home Office. There will be severe consequences for the individuals whose bank accounts are wrongly closed or frozen mistakenly. Given the poor quality of Home Office record keeping and decision making, it is inevitable that this will happen, and highly likely that it will disproportionately affect ethnic minorities. Meanwhile, by excluding a portion of the population from banking services, the Bill again encourages the creation of a subclass of people in the UK who will become dependent on criminal loan sharks, and other exploitative individuals. Given the historical issues with stop and search policies, it is likely that ethnic minorities will disproportionately be subjected to driving licence checks, and again mistakes in the system will result in citizens being wrongly arrested. It is doubtful whether the harm caused by denying a group of people in the UK the ability to take driving lessons and pass a driving test which promotes public safety, is outweighed by whatever the supposed benefits are of such a policy.

DEPORT FIRST APPEAL LATER In the last Immigration Act of 2014 the majority of appeals against immigration decisions were removed, in addition measures were brought in to allow the deportation of any person with a nonhuman rights related appeal before the appeal was heard. Now the ‘deport first, appeal later’ provisions have been extended to human rights cases as well. Given the huge delays in the appeals system we have not yet seen how the removal of appeals rights, and the introduction of deport first, appeal later, has affected people. However it is important to remember that the Home Office has a long history of extremely poor decision making, with a very high rate of appeals being successful. It seems that rather than trying to get things right, this Bill, and the last Immigration Act, are designed to ensure that those who are wrongly removed from the country have no redress. This is a severe infringement of the rule of law in a democratic country. Similarly, the removal of those with human rights claims before their appeal has been heard is inevitably going to result in a percentage of people having their human rights violated. LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS - The Bill introduces an English language requirement for all customer facing public sector workers. This provision perhaps best exemplifies the extent to which this Immigration Bill is about looking tough, rather than in engaging with the reality of migration in the UK and how to best harness it for the public good. CONCLUSION - It is normally accepted that the creation of new criminal offences, and the handing out of new policing powers is something to be done only after careful consideration of the balance of harms. Giving officials wider discretion to arrest, or to punish inevitably results in a greater interference with the liberties of the public. Innocent people inevitably end up caught up in the system. After all, before the decision to remove almost all appeal rights, Home Office decisions in immigration matters were frequently overturned on appeal. Unfortunately this Bill continues the government’s policy of covering up for appalling decision making, and incompetence, by making it harder for those affected to complain. By Chai Patel –a summarised version cullied from: http://www.migrantsrights. org.uk/blog/2015/09/immigration-bill2015-what-you-need-know

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HEALTHWATCH NORFOLK WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY

B Bridge Plus Focus Group Participants.

enjamin Franklin, one of the founding father of the United States, and a friend of the Norfolk-born Thomas Paine, said “Nothing is certain except death and taxes’. We might be able to avoid one, but we cannot avoid the other. It is sometimes very difficult for people to talk about death, there are often cultural taboos surrounding the topic. But not being able to talk about our wishes at the end of

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life often means a difficult and upsetting end for the person and their loves ones. Healthwatch Norfolk and the Norfolk and Suffolk Palliative Care Academy is keen to understand what prevents us talking about death and dying and planning for our end of life. Without understanding the barriers we cannot properly influence the design and delivery of health and social care services for the people of Norfolk Why don’t we want to talk about or ‘think ahead’ and plan for the end of our life? Why don’t we talk about what sort of care and treatment do we want to receive? The Bridge Plus+ has helped Healthwatch in their research by organizing people from the BME community to participate in a series of focus group discussions to better understand the attitudes and needs of people from other cultures nearing the end of life. Those participating have been very open and honest when talking about this

difficult subject. They have highlighted a number of differences which the health and social care services need to understand to improve services to people from different backgrounds. We need to know more. Healthwatch has designed a survey for a wider audience. The survey is online and is completely anonymous. Please go to www.AvalonAsks.co.uk/health and complete. We need to hear from as many people from different backgrounds as possible. Please pass the information on to your friends and colleagues. The survey is also available on paper and we will provide a freepost envelope for you to return. These are available at Bridge+ Offices, please call in and pick one up if you can’t complete the online survey. For more information about Healthwatch Norfolk and this research please contact us on 0808 168 9669 or email: enquiries@healthwatchnorfolk.co.uk


BME VOICES • Why does everyone just see me as • “I am a black although one of my parents qualified is white? Why? Why is it that when doctor you are of mix race, your are treated from my as if the other half of your race country”, can be completely said X ignored? while Why can’t flipping I be seen through images of as equally him at work on his phone, and black and in one case delivering a baby by white if caesarean section”, but because one of my of my lack of English, I have do parents are menial jobs. Though frustrating, non-white? I still see things positively because I when I arrived in the UK about 2 years ago, I had zero English. • I am now a British Citizen after Now my English has improved 15 years. When I was visiting a lot, but not good enough to my country of birth for the first get me to where I should be. time after a long while, I was very I know this is just a journey excited, thinking “I am going and someday soon, I expect my home” but anxious because I did English to improve to the level not know what to expect. However, that I will see myself practicing it was during my return journey to again as a medical doctor. the UK when I really felt that “I was actually coming home”. The UK is where I can now identify • Regarding work, sometimes it with, where I feel I belong and have can be very easy to find a job but a future. It is sad to think that there the main problem is job security. are people out there who think There are many employment I still don’t belong here. 
 agencies recruiting, however when you are on benefits and cannot find a secure job, your life can be hell. I got a job through an agency, and told the Job Centre, so that they can stop my benefits. But three weeks later the agency had no job for me. That is where the problems started, because I had no income for weeks and it is not easy getting back on benefits. How do I pay my bills? When will I get a job again?

• If I had known about your organisation (Bridge Plus) much earlier, I would not have made some of the mistakes I made in the past. I was relying on people who have genuinely tried to help but unfortunately were not so knowledgeable, and that cost me.
 • My child (under 10 years) who was born in the UK said to me “Dad, how come I only have two friends in this country where I lived all my life, but during a two week visit to Africa, I managed to make over ten friends?”. “This is the UK”, is how I started my long answer. Maybe someday he will understand what I meant. • Is Britain Racist? According to one long term UK resident, the language has changed but the sentiments haven’t. What would you think when someone approaches you and asks you the question, “where are you from?” you would wonder what they meant, wouldn’t you?

Some thoughts from a British native and a traveller: I understand very much where the views are coming from and have a lot of sympathy but have to say it sounds like the same misconception over and over again. Whenever I travel or even live some time in a foreign country, where I obviously look different, I’m constantly asked where I’m from and often far more intrusive questions than that, which we wouldn’t normally ask in UK. It’s a fact of life whenever you go to some place very different to live. And because people ask where you’re from, doesn’t mean they think you don’t belong there. Part of adapting to another country, apart from speaking the language is actually trying to understand the local culture and how things work - it’s going to be different! Rather than always comparing, being critical and how “back home” is better, look for the positives, or people will question why you want to stay there then. I feel the same about some of the British people living abroad, who also have the habit of criticising the local people or customs.

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Bulgarian Celebrating Diversity, Heritage & Culture in Norfolk Stories collated by Galya Clark

Voting in a Bulgarian National referendum in UK Voting: The Bulgarian society in Norwich organised a polling station in the Maids Head hotel in Tombland, Norwich on 25th of October. The elections were for a national referendum where 64 people voted. The question of the referendum was “Do you want to vote electronically or not”. Those elections in Norwich are the third one to date after two general parliamentary elections. The local organiser was Pavlina Boralieva with the help of a few volunteers and the support of the Bulgarian embassy in London.

Halloween in the Norwich City: The Bulgarian approach A lot of Bulgarian mothers in Norwich and around the area were very keen to celebrate Halloween, despite the fact that this is not a Bulgarian celebration. They like to dress their toddlers, children and themselves in the special costumes of witches, devils, skeletons and pumpkins. The Bulgarian club organised the event on 1st of November, with the help of volunteers, with the idea that it is one of the ways for helping Bulgarians to integrate into the local culture. The party was well visited, by a lot of families and children. Tons of food and drinks decorated the tables. Home made products were next to the sweets for Halloween. Among the guests were British and Italians but also children from Greek origin.

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The coordinator of the group, Galya Clark, underlined in her speech that on this day (1 of November), Bulgarians pay respect to their writers, revolutionaries and journalists, who help to wake up the nation in the eve of its independence. She announced that the Bulgarian lessons for Bulgarian children will be restarted and the Bulgarian club has invited Violeta Vladova to be a tutor. Finally, there was a competition for the best Halloween children’s and adult costumes. The judges were older children, age 12 and 10, enthused by this important task!

Festival of Cultures “I have been in Bulgaria and tried some of your tasty food there”, said a British woman at the opening of the Bulgarian stall in the time of the Festival of cultures. “I can speak Russian”, said another one at the Ukrainian stall. “Would you like to taste Libyan food?” asked a lady with a tray of samples. Admirations, friendly smiles and a lot of questions: that was the colourful atmosphere of the special day in the heart of Norwich city. Norwich Mind organizes the Festival every year and the citizens of our “fine city” enjoy the event immensely. The place was the best possible - The Forum. The beautifully decorated stalls attract a lot of visitors every year. Some of the participants are familiar with the Festival like Bulgarians for examples, whose

“banitsa”,“pitka” and cakes had been tasted by many people every year. Other groups are new for the Festival. The Ukrainians have their stall for a very first time. Not only nations, but causes and organizations have been represented at the Festival, amongst them was the stall of “Bridge plus”, the publisher of B Me Voices magazine. But not only the interestingly arranged stalls with food and souvenirs represented the cultures. The stage in front of the Forum showed a triumph of the rhythms: Indian, African, Latin American and Bulgarian music. The beauty of the Bollywood costumes pleased the eyes of the visitors; a lot of Norwich people danced salsa with the musicians from “Salsa society of UEA” and with the Bulgarians in their “Horo” circle dance, born in the ancient times. We would like to introduce you to the girl, who led the Horo dance, her smile was circulated in the EDP newspaper the next day. We also wish to meet you with the lady, who participated in the Ukrainian stall, and another lady – from Russia, who is newly arrived in Norfolk.


Key Updates in Brief Brits Abroad key facts • According to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UK actually has a much greater proportion of citizens living overseas than any other European country. That means we are the ones going over there. • Britain has more of its people living overseas in other developed countries than any other European country. • Nearly four million British-born people are living in another wealthy foreign state as thousands seek jobs or retire to warmer climates, according to an official report from the Organisation

for Economic Co-operation and Development and the numbers are growning. • Globally, Britain was second only to Mexico – which had 12million citizens living in other countries. • And we beat China (3.90million), India (3.83million) and Germany (3.63million).

• And around 1.5million of those fleeing abroad are graduate level or postsecondary education, moving to places where there are greater economic opportunities.

• In fact, the numbers of Brits living abroad has risen so much that the House of Lords is currently debating whether or not UK citizens overseas

• So basically, exactly the same as the people who move here to work, pay taxes and integrate themselves into society.

• Universal Credit is a new type of benefit designed to support people of working age, who are on a low income or out of work. It will replace six existing benefits and is currently being rolled out across the UK. • It started in Norwich on 7th December 2015 for all NEW SINGLE claimants only (i.e. any single person without dependent children). • It replaces income support, income based JSA, income based ESA, housing benefit, working tax credits/child tax credits, social fund budgeting loans. Basically all your benefits are paid as a single monthly amount. • This means that the housing benefit element will now be paid directly to you the claimant – not to the landlord. Some exceptions apply but please speak to your Job Centre Plus

Potential problems, Issues & challenges

Work coach Advisor. • All applications will be online but it is possible to get help over the phone if you cannot apply online. • What may be good about this new system? • Smoother transition from out of work to in work. • Because everything will be online (from mid-2016), you can access your account from anywhere and not have to wait for helpline adviser to answer your telephone calls • Work coaches should spend more time assisting you the claimant to meet your individual needs • If you, the claimant, don’t have IT skills, you can be helped over the phone or by a digital champions at your local JCP • Childcare support – currently you have to work over 16 hours to get help with childcare but the new system will be more flexible, which may be good news for lone parents doing “mini jobs” (small number of hours) housing benefits could also be stopped?

• Monthly payments, including housing benefit can result in non-payment of rents and rent arrears (pilot areas show a rise in such problems) • New claimant commitments are more stringent and sanctions attached to it can be detrimental. • It is not 100% clear which part of the allowance would be affected by sanctions. Simply put, if you fail to meet your job seeking commitments, will the sanction mean that your

The Government has deferred the 2016 Care Act reforms (Care Cap) until 2020.

• ‘We normally think of the UK mainly as a destination for migrants, but it has a long history of emigration,’ Madeleine Sumption, the director of the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, told the Times.

• ‘The OECD data suggest that Brits are more mobile than many other countries with similar levels of development, like Germany, France or the United States.’

UNIVERSAL CREDITS The New Benefits system is now in Norwich

The Care Act

should be allowed to vote in the EU referendum.

• Because all applications have to be done online, voluntary support organisations may have to help clients but there is no additional funding to support them with the expected additional workload • All the payments will go into one account, usually to the head of household. This is a major shift from previously when one partner could receive certain benefits and the other partner could receive child tax credits. Domestic problems and disputes could arise.

and helping people to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible.

April 2016 funding reforms delayed

The second part of the Care Act proposed new duties for local April 2015 reforms authorities and was due to be The first part of the most significant implemented in April 2016. Part Two reform in social care for more than 60 included introduction of a cap on care years came into effect on 1 April 2015. costs, a care account, daily living costs The 2014 Care Act helps make social and a change in the level of meanscare and support more consistent across tested support. England. It also shifts the balance Following the General Election in towards promoting overall wellbeing May, Ministers have reviewed the

reforms and the significant impact on local authorities and care providers, and announced on 17 July that they were delaying the introduction of the funding reforms until April 2020. This will give local authorities and care providers time to plan and prepare for these significant changes. You’ll find more information on the Local Government Association website. http://www.local.gov.uk/ care-support-reform/-/journal_ content/56/10180/7399001/ARTICLE

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Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year‌

T

hanks to all of you. We would like to say thank you to all those who supported our activities. We would particularly like to say a big thank you to Love Norwich for providing the Christmas Hamper gifts below which went to very needy people from BME communities.

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Similarly we would like to thank our partners, New Routes and English+, and other support organisations, notably the British Red Cross for their continued care and support towards our mutual client groups. To the Norwich Foodbank, for the needy you help to feed. And Kudos to County Council. A final big thank you to Norfolk

Community Foundation for continuing to ensure that small BME community project activities vital to maintaining community cohesion are funded. The little you have been providing has been making a big difference. On behalf of all the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities of Norfolk, we say Happy New Year.


Profile of New UK Immigrants • Recent immigrants to Britain are better educated, pay more taxes and draw less state benefits than native Britons. These findings, taken from official government data, came in a heavyweight report into the fiscal consequences of immigration to the UK, published by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London. According to the report, immigrants who arrived after 1999 in Britain, and made up a third of the overall immigrant population

in the UK in 2011, were 45% less likely to receive state benefits than native Brits. They were also 3% less likely to live in social housing. They were also better educated than native Britons. In 2011, 32% of those from the European Economic Area (EEA) and 43% of those from outside of the region had a university degree, whereas for native Brits it was less than one in five (21%). (Originally Posted November 2013 at www.creammigration.org/publ_uploads/CDP_22_13.pdf)

• Use of our telephones to contact other organisations on your behalf • Escort you to an appointment

What we offer?

• If we are unable to assist you with any issues you might have then we will always refer you to an organisation that can

• Employment, Job Centre Plus and other benefit related issues • Support your job search needs • Practice interview skills through mock job interviews and feedback

• Group networking workshops & trainings with time for peer-topeer support

What you can expect from us • A client centred approach

Our team of local citizen advocates can offer you • 1-1 information advice and guidance on a wide range of issues • Help with completing all sorts of forms

• To be treated equally and fairly irrespective of gender, race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability

• Racism and equality related issues

• A place for organisations looking to access or provide support to communities • A pathway to accessing local services and community groups • Confidentiality assured

• 01603 617 076

Need help and assistance with housing, health, education or similar rights/access to services issue?

• Find out how other people found jobs & be motivated

The Bridge Plus Sackville Place, 44-48 Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1JU

Information, Advice, Guidance & Training Services

• Update your CV and build a new portfolio

• Provide volunteer interpreting service over the phone and or in person

• Referring/contacting other organisations on your behalf • Contacting your telephone, gas, electric and water company • Writing supporting letters and statements

• office@bridgeplus.org.uk • www.bridgeplus.org.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebridgeplus

Appointments available: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Friday from 10am - 3pm (for clients services) • Call 01603 61 70 76 Please leave a voice message if not answered

01603 617 076

Some of our regular front line staff & volunteers Beatrice

Frances

Gervais

Jo

Pa Musa

Mo

Sue

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The 22 GP practices in Norwich are proud to look after our 214,000 patients

So that patients continue to get a good service, can you help us? Please: Think before you ask for an appointment - sometimes there are better options, such as your local pharmacy, 111 or www.nhs.uk. Tell us if you do not need your appointment. We can offer that time to someone else. Organise repeat prescriptions with your local pharmacy. It saves valuable time at your GP Practice and will often be more convenient for you.

... because it isYourNorwich

B-Me Voices Magazine - December 2015  

B-Me Voices Magazine - December 2015

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