In June 2020 Windrush lawyer and campaigner Jacqueline McKenzie began work to research and explore the landscape for grassroots organisations working on the implications of the Windrush scandal.
The focus of the research was how organisations could be supported to sustain their advocacy and action on Windrush, particularly among communities directly impacted by it. These, mainly small groups and organisations have been leading the work on seeking justice for the victims of the Windrush scandal seeking compensation, and policy change often without funding.
A final report found that there is a huge gap between need and the service provision in areas including: advice; advocacy; community events; service delivery; research; arts; oral history; media engagement: and evaluation.
What’s Different About The Windrush Justice Programme?
Approximately 75% of the funding will be onward granted to organisations which are providing advocacy support to victims of the Windrush scandal, initially across England and Wales, where the main concentration of Windrush victims is situated. The remaining funds will be used to provide organisational development and manage the programme.
The money will enable them to:
- Pay caseworkers to support those needing help, as many are undertaking this work in a voluntary capacity which is not sustainable
- Cover admin costs
- Fund experienced case workers
- Demonstrate they are citizens by accessing the Windrush Task Force to regulate their status
- Access and complete the application for the Windrush compensation scheme
- Signpost to other organisations offering support including signposting more complicated cases to solicitors (providing pro bono support)
- Enable organisations to mobilise more case workers or volunteers to reach more people to support
ARE made a clear commitment to co-designing the programme with the grassroots groups. Their input led to a shift in the application process, moving away from forms to a conversation-based assessment of needs.
My background is in family law. The Windrush situation was very upsetting for me – I wanted to do something active. There was nothing per se in Wolverhampton, so I started to attend the Windrush National Organisation (WNO) meetings online with Desmond Jadoo, and Patrick Vernon, along with two other solicitors. We have a large Afro-Caribbean community, and launched the Clinic in April 2020, becoming an incorporated CIC in July. The death of Paulette Wilson gave us pause to look around at what support was available for other victims. We didn’t feel the Refugee and Migrant Centre based in Wolverhampton was dealing so much with black people and wanted to do something Black-led.
In our engagement with people working in small groups, they told us that this funding would be very useful to enable them to:
- Strengthen their fundraising capabilities
- Develop policies that new small organisations need (e.g. safeguarding, data protection)
- Help develop their capacity to manage finances
- Develop processes to support staff/volunteers become regulated immigration advisors as set out by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner if this is something organisations/individuals wish to achieve.
About the programme
The Windrush Justice programme will run for up to three years.
What will the programme do?
- Distribute small grants to grassroots organisations
- Provide bespoke 1:1 organisational development support
- Share best practice between organisations to help groups work through shared challenges together
- Work with Patrick Vernon to keep this issue on the agenda for policy makers
Who will it benefit?
Organisations that are providing advocacy support to victims of the Windrush scandal, initially across England and Wales, where the main concentration of Windrush victims is situated. The funding will help them to:
- Fund experienced case workers
- Support individuals to demonstrate they are citizens by accessing the Windrush Task Force to regulate their status
- Access and complete the application for the Windrush compensation scheme for those who are eligible
- Signpost to other organisations offering support including signposting more
complicated cases to solicitors (providing pro bono support)
- Enable organisations to mobilise more case workers or volunteers to reach more
people to support
How we will measure success
We’ll help organisations on the programme to collect data on how many people they are supporting and outputs achieved including the number of people accessing the compensation scheme. We will also support them to capture and share case studies to demonstrate the impact of the funding they’ve received.
Thank you to the generous funders of the Windrush Justice Programme
Glenda Andrew – founder of Preston Windrush Generation and Descendants UK, helped
her mum with her application and has been running the organisation since 2019.
We were able to contact organisations and got support in Manchester, as at the time there was nowhere to go in Preston. We didn’t know what we were doing in the beginning. Initially it was all about obtaining the necessary (citizenship) status, but for me it was crucially about mental health and wellbeing. This together with advocacy was deeply lacking and missing. We now offer a lot of support. We do need training and strategising and structuring how we go forward to develop the organisation.Glenda Andrew
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First 12 groups supported via Windrush Justice Programme
We’re delighted to announce that we have funded twelve grassroots organisations following our initial closed tender round.
We’re providing advocacy support to people applying to the Windrush Compensation scheme – including work to regulate their status before being able to access the fund.
After completing a short eligibility check and Expression of Interest form (EOI), organisations had a virtual conversation with the ARE team instead of completing a traditional application form.
This approach was co-designed with the Windrush grassroots sector, and we have all found these conversations immensely useful.
Organisations were all awarded £22,000 across two years, with £16,500 being funded in December or February with the remaining 25% being paid in twelve months’ time.
We have funded:
- African Caribbean Community Development Forum Ltd (ACCDF)
- Claudia Jones Organisation
- Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation UK
- Derby West Indian Community Association
- Northamptonshire Rights and Equalities Council
- Nu Dawn
- Pilgrim Charitable Trust
- Preston Windrush Generation Descendants UK
- United Legal Access
- Windrush Legal Advice Clinic
- Windrush Defenders Legal CIC
- Windrush Movement UK
If you think you may be eligible for our second funding round, please contact Tara Shah.
windrush scandal 5 years on
“What has happened to the Windrush Generation is still being done”
Windrush advocates from across the country gathered in Parliament on Tuesday 16th May with ARE, to present MPs, journalists and policymakers with a picture of the deep-rooted issues plaguing the government’s Windrush Schemes and potentially impacting tens of thousands of people in the UK and overseas.
Photography by Luke Agbaimoni.
In the run up to the event, Windrush Justice Programme groups identified critical areas requiring attention from the Home Office, as well as potential solutions to these.
The burden of proof
Government should shoulder the burden of proof and stop passing the buck to Windrush victims to prove their case.
- Applicants to the scheme go through undue scrutiny and suspicion when presenting identity documents and making claims, despite other government agencies such as HMRC or the Department for Work and Pensions already possessing verified identification for these individuals.
- The process is also outdated, requiring hard copies, and resulting in additional costs and time constraints, particularly for those who have already incurred significant financial losses and are unable to provide physical evidence. The IT support, when provided, is inadequate for claimants’ needs.
- The Home Office only have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check records and respond yes or no as to whether a client is eligible. Caseworkers do not check the evidence themselves. This needs to be updated to include checks of evidence as it leaves too much scope for serious error.
Government must internally and efficiently interrogate the information they already hold on people with other departments and agencies and reduce the excessive burden of proof needed from individuals.
End the caseworker lottery
- Home Office case workers responsible for managing claims and in decision-making roles operate without standardised protocols or guidelines. The outcome and quality of claims are left to the discretion of individual case workers.
JUSTICE has emphasised the need for further caseworker training and guidance to provide quality assurance and consistency, as well as cultural competency when handling claims from vulnerable individuals and diverse communities.
End the neglect of overseas individuals affected by the scandal
The out of sight, out of mind approach to people trapped overseas must stop.
- People overseas, who have already been deported, are at a huge disadvantage and neglected. Forms for overseas claimants are unnecessarily complex even for those with legal training. In one case, a legal team had to click 17 times from the Gov.UK homepage to find the link for overseas claims.
Government must simplify the process, taking inspiration from successful practices elsewhere, such as the distribution of COVID-19 support for businesses; the accessibility of the Ukraine Family Scheme and from the Vibration White Finger Compensation Scheme where loss of earnings was assessed on a common law basis.