Stories of Windrush victims are painful to hear. They involve any combination of illegal detention, deportation, family separation, job losses, withdrawal of state benefits, zero access to medical treatment, homelessness and so on. All of this came after victims had given the best years of their working lives to Great Britain as part of the Windrush Generation.
The Home Office claimed that deficiencies in its casework for Windrush victims were a result of “a series of mistakes over a period of time’. However a Parliamentary report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights did not find this explanation to be ‘credible or sufficient’. The Human Rights of many, too many, Windrushers have been breached.
The then Home Secretary publicly promised to right the wrongs of the Windrush Scandal and launched a compensation scheme on 4 April 2019. £200m has been set aside for this as a start. He also set up a Windrush Task Force, which is working with charities and recognised community groups to raise awareness of the scheme around the country. CACFO is engaged in this programme, working in close partnership with Windrush Action, a community interest group that is seeking fair and just compensation for victims. Windrush Action is chaired by Elwado Romeo, himself a Windrush victim.
CACFO is in an ideal location to seek to identify victims because Thornton Heath is home to the largest population of West Indians anywhere in London and, notably, because 80% of Windrush victims are said by the Home Office to be of Jamaican heritage.
Therefore, alongside Windrush Action, we are working with the Task Force to host Windrush Compensation meetings encourage Thornton Heath residents and others affected by the scandal to provide information on who may be eligible for compensation, what kind of impacts and losses are covered by the scheme and how to apply.
We have organised two public meetings so far, one on Saturday 14 September 2019 and another on 9 November 2019. Both were well attended by local residents and others affected by the scandal. One came from as far afield as Manchester! The Task Force was able to provide information on who may be eligible for compensation, what kind of impacts and losses are covered by the scheme and how to apply. They also explained how immigration status can be settled.
Anyone who was unable to attend these events can contact the Home Office’s dedicated helpline on 0800 678 1925 or email WindrushCompensationScheme@homeoffice.gov.uk. Alternatively you find out more online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme
Given the level of interest in the meetings, CACFO’s Chairman, Councillor Callton Young, has committed to arranging a series of follow up surgeries in Thornton Heath. The dates will be announced shortly.
Callton said “Reaching out to victims and giving them the confidence to come forward via a trusted local partner is a real priority.”
If you would like to contact an immigration or compensation lawyer put send a message to CACFO via our contact form.