In the wake of the 2018 ‘Windrush Scandal', a group of volunteers came together to support the Windrush generation and their descendants apply for documents to prove their legal status and claim compensation. Working from the Windrush Millennium Centre in Moss Side, we held regular surgeries to provide one-to-one support to those affected by the ‘Scandal’, assisting them to navigate the Home Office’s complicated systems, carrying out Subject Access Requests, helping them to gather the correct documentations, filling out forms and signposting them to where they can get further help.
We also held meetings and community engagement events to create awareness and provide information. Through these community-centred approaches and direct interactions, it became apparent that there were community-wide issues that go way beyond rectifying Citizenship and claiming compensation. Depositions taken from individuals describing their experiences lit up patterns of racial injustice across social, cultural and economic areas of the community.
It became clear that long term advocacy and support was needed to address the deep-rooted effects caused by decades of hostile approaches to immigration control and enforcement, systemic injustices and to repair the damage done to the African and Caribbean community cohesion. The "Windrush Defenders" volunteering group was formally incorporated as a Community Interest Company on 27th June 2019 to gives reassurance to the community that the support will continue and that they have a service that they can rely on.