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- In Practice
Get Access to Public Funds: A Workshop Series
1. The equip more people to make the complex immigration application for access to public funds
2. To continue to build community around the issue of ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF)
Who are we?
The Unity Project is a community of people who are committed to legal support, solidarity and policy change for people with 'no recourse to public funds' (NRPF).
In our first year we have assisted over 150 families living in extreme poverty/homelessness/ precarious housing (e.g. with abusive partners/ in section 17 accommodation/ facing eviction, etc). We assist with ‘Change of Conditions’ applications for recourse to public funds and over 95% of our applications have been successful; the remainder are currently under Judicial Review.
Why are we applying to the Ideas Fund?
Sadly, the demand for assistance with this application grows each month and we are unable to provide one-on-one appointments for every applicant. We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to provide the most specialist, efficient and human-centred support possible; our success rate and the strength of our community attests to this.
What is our idea?
We want to provide regular workshops to explain and provide initial support to people who need to make the Change of Conditions application.
Who is it for?
Both people with NRPF (and their families), and people who would like to and are accredited to assist people with NRPF to make this application.
What will it involve?
The workshops will be facilitated by a OISC caseworker and trained volunteers, including some volunteers with lived experience of NRPF.
We will work through our extensive guide, designed with and for applicants and evolving according to feedback. All participants will draft a statement outlining their situation and identify the necessary evidence. We will help to annotate bank statements and highlight/help with difficult transactions.
We will then offer ongoing support, either through one-on-one or group appointments, offering to thoroughly check through statements/evidence/bank statements.
We will provide lunch, childcare and travel expenses.
What do we hope to achieve?
1. Applicants complete a draft of their Change of Conditions application
2. Applicants feel better equipped and able to act independently, both in this application and in future/other applications
3. Opportunity for community-building, meeting people in similar situations/facing similar challenges
4. Reduce the demand for intensive support through one-on-one appointments; many people will only require group support after attending the initial workshop
How will we evaluate this?
• feedback forms to assess confidence/knowledge before and after workshop and to assess value of the community aspect
• stats re number of independently completed applications, as well as stats re numbers of successful applications
• stats re numbers that we are able to assist monthly
• stats re length of time taken to complete the applications
How will our idea be sustainable?
We have a comprehensive fundraising strategy, and have some core funding to cover some of the costs.
Why do we think it will work?
We’ve trialed the workshops (twice), and received very positive feedback, with half the attendees drafting their own Change of Conditions applications as a result. The Unity Project includes people with lived experience of NRPF, who provide an invaluable insight into our approach and mold how we work. We will continue to be adaptive in our approach.