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  • Writer's pictureTwMC

Hardship fund case study - S and his father.

Together with Migrant Children's hardship fund provides emergency support to children, young people and families with accommodation and practical support. It is not a replacement for statutory support, but there to step in to meet urgent needs.

S was 11 years old and arrived in the UK on his own in the back of a lorry. Separated from the rest of his family in another country, his father was already seeking asylum in the UK. Somehow, S ended up in the UK. Working closely with the local authority, his father was tracked down and brought to see his son. At this time, his father was living in asylum accommodation intended for single adults and he could not have S in the accommodation.

Given S's ordeal and experience, we wanted to avoid the use of Home Office asylum hotel accommodation. This would risk him being placed away from the specialist support we would be putting in place. Given father's asylum seeking status, he was barred from accessing most financial or accommodation support from the local authority. However, this did not prevent them from providing vital support (a good news story in itself!).

To prevent disruption and to allow S to settle, we provided accommodation which allowed him to enrol in primary school and begin accessing therapeutic support and family support work. Simultaneously, we worked on their welfare case to have him added to his father's support and keep them as close as possible to the support they are receiving. We also applied for grants to continue accommodation support, whilst this was going through. We also supported the family to access legal representation and provide support to S to help him settle in the UK.

In additional to providing accommodation, we provided support with vouchers and essentials from the fund to top up the financial support his father was receiving, so that S's needs could be met. This provision of support carried on until grants covered the provision. This casework approach was successful, they have managed to stay close to the support we provide and the network of support we built around them. It has meant that S can focus on school and support to help him through what he has experienced.

Our hardship fund

This is a pretty exceptional story and one that doesn't happen every day. However, our hardship fund is more commonly used to provide emergency help - 1 or 2 nights of accommodation to prevent street homelessness, during which time we obtain statutory welfare provision. The importance in the fund is that it is flexible and we can try out hardest to meet the specific needs of a child or young person. On average we spend about £5,000 a year on hardship support, whilst also helping families to apply for grant funding and working with wonderful partners to provide goods from baby banks, to food banks and other provision.

We rely solely on donations for the hardship fund and receive no grant funding to spend on hardship funding. If you can support our hardship fund, you can do it here. Small or big, every single donation makes a massive difference to children and young people we work with.


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