Campaigners in Wolverhampton and The Black Country have set up a new ‘Windrush Legal Advice Clinic’ – a not- for-profit organisation, inspired by the late Paulette Wilson, who resided and worked in that area. Ms. Paulette Wilson experienced first-hand the Home Office’s“ hostile environment” and campaigned tirelessly for her community.
Since Paulette’s passing in July 2020, Dr Patrick Vernon OBE and others have continued to campaign against the Home Office’s treatment of people from the “Windrush Generation.”
The Legal Advice Clinic was established by local solicitor, Ms Maureen Mitchell, and Patrick Vernon OBE for those who live and work in the Wolverhampton and Black Country area. The service is being led by a team of professional volunteers including Bridgett Tatham, a partner in Brown and Jacobson; Jahnel Davis, Paralegal and Judith Tatham.
Wolverhampton University and their Law Centre are also partnering with them and will assist with the triaging of clients from the Windrush Generation. The Clinic has already made connections with the Windrush National Organisation and other Windrush activists, lawyers and organisations across the UK.
The Legal Advice Clinic will focus on those who need help completing the Windrush Compensation Scheme Forms and assist those who are ‘undocumented’ to obtain documents that legitimises their immigration status. The project began in December 2020 and is a pro bono legal advice clinic, operating Monday to Friday.
Maureen Mitchell said on the launch of the service stated: ‘We have considered that this service is most definitely needed for the people in the Wolverhampton and the Black County area who have suffered from the Home Office’s “hostile environment”. Many of our service users have difficulty with accessing help with legal issues, sometimes because of their vulnerability, sometimes because of lack of trust, but mainly because of the high costs associated with defending their claims. We aim to be a service that people from our community can trust to provide them with professional reliable and quality service.’
Natalie Barnes whose mother Paulette Wilson Windrush campaigner who died in July 2020 stated: ‘We hope this service can provide the type of support that can help victims still experiencing Windrush Scandal around their status and accessing the compensation scheme. It is kind of service that my late mother would benefit from especially those in the community in Wolverhampton and the Black Country area.’
Patrick Vernon stated: “As we approach the third anniversary of the Windrush Scandal many of the issues are still not resolved around compensation scheme and status for many of the Windrush Generation and their families. The late Paulette Wilson and many others have been let down by the Home Office despite recent changes to improve the compensation scheme. Access to legal assistance is still a major barrier and this new Windrush service is an important step forward in campaigning for justice for the Windrush Generation in Wolverhampton and The Black Country’.
The service will be formally launched on Monday 19th April 2021 at 58 Bank Street Bilston West Midlands, WV148DP from 7.00 – 8.00pm and persons can join Zoom.
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Meeting ID: 202 889 7998
Speakers at the launch will be Natalie Barnes, Patrick Vernon OBE, Maureen Mitchell, and Sukhvinder Panesar (Head of Wolverhampton University Law School).