It’s been a very difficult past few weeks for refugee and migrant communities since the COVID-19 pandemic began, particularly since lockdown measures were officially introduced last week. Apart from the threat of COVID-19 itself, refugees and migrants part of the West London Welcome community face numerous challenges while they stay at home: limited access to the charities and social networks they usually rely on for support; accessing the internet for information, communication and education, which many previously relied on charity spaces, libraries and cafes for; living in poor, overcrowded accommodation; and difficulties being able to afford to buy essential living items in bulk if in self-isolation for long periods of time. The vast majority of our community also experience everyday mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress, which are being exacerbated by pandemic conditions.
However, as we detailed in our first statement on supporting our visitors during the pandemic, our community – with and alongside other refugee and migrant charities across London – has been working hard to protect the wellbeing of all those we support. We are also continuing to join efforts with others in the refugee and migrant sector to call for the government and local authorities to make urgent changes to ensure the safety of migrants in light of the pandemic.
West London Welcome is continuing to run our services for our community in adapted ways, adhering closely to government and public health guidelines, as follows:
- Monday food deliveries and financial hardship support
- Our regular foodbank on Thursdays, which operates under strict social distancing rules
- We are ensuring as many people in our community have access to phone credit and the internet as possible
- Legal and general advice sessions, English classes, socialising, and other activities are running via phone and online platforms.
We are currently only able to support existing members of the West London Welcome community at this time. If you, or someone you know, lives in West London, is from a refugee or migrant background, and is looking for support from one of our services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07512789542 and we will see if we can help.