We are honoured to have won the Hackney Mayor’s Civic Award. The nominees were chosen for their selfless and positive contributions to the community. The award celebrates the borough’s “unsung heroes” by presenting three individuals and three organisations with civic awards. This year, 174 organisations and individuals were nominated.
Rayah Feldman, founder of HMC, said: “Our ethos is that we’ll give advice to any migrants, whatever their nationality, whatever their immigration status.
“Although, if they’re actually eligible for mainstream support, in most cases, we’ll tell them where to go because that’s not our expertise – we have a particucar expertise in people who have irregular immigration status’, including undocumented migrants.”
Reflecting on HMC’s opening in 2008, Rayah said: “At the beginning… it was much easier to get legal help. Since then, a lot of immigration departments have closed down, legal aid got tightened down and restricted…”
“The hostile environment has made it much worse and people come with really big problems and often really difficult histories, especially women.”
This year’s winners included: Paul Fosu, Hawa Daboh Sesay and Joyclen Buffong received civic awards in the individual category; Hackney Migrant Centre, Apex and Connecting All Communities organisation section.