Posted: 12 April 2018

Meeting the immigration minister

Before I talk about my meeting with Caroline Nokes, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my journey to becoming a campaign champion.

My name's Alison, I’m 25 and currently living in Southampton. One of the main reasons I applied to become a campaign champion is that I am passionate about advocating on behalf of others and promoting the rights of children and young people. Another reason is that I am currently studying a masters in Sociology and Social Policy at Southampton University. My dream is to pursue a career within the Social Policy sector and I believe this volunteering will help me to gain experience within the field and help with future job prospects.

Meeting Caroline Nokes

A few weeks ago, I met with Caroline Nokes who is my local MP and the recently appointed immigration minister (congratulations again, Caroline!). I decided I wanted to meet her because it would be a fantastic opportunity to discuss the work that The Children's Society do to support refugee and migrant young people and their families. I also wanted to talk to Caroline about the hardships that many young people face. We had a great discussion about the needs of these vulnerable children and young people and how The Children's Society work independently and passionately to ensure they receive support and, from this discussion. Caroline agreed to come visit one of the local projects.

Setting up this meeting was very simple and easy. I searched for my local MP online and found a government website which told me who my MP was along with their secretaries details. Then, I emailed her secretary and set up the meeting. The meeting itself was great, Caroline was very approachable and friendly which enabled us to have a really interesting conversation.

Discussing the issues refugee and migrant young people and their families face

Caroline was very interested to hear about the research and direct work which lead to the development of The Children's Society report called ‘Making Life Impossible’ which was published in 2016. We discussed one of the key findings of this report which was in relation to the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ condition which has been placed on families who have been granted ‘leave to remain’ status within the UK.

This means that these children and their families may be living on a low income and are not allowed to access most mainstream benefits like child benefit, housing benefit, child tax credits and free school meals. Children growing up in this situation are hugely disadvantaged and can experience significant poverty. Caroline recognised this as a serious problem and stated that she 'will continue to explore this issue further'.

Looking ahead 

It was brilliant to have the opportunity to meet with Caroline and to share with her the work The Children's Society do to ensure that vulnerable children receive the support they need. It's positive to know just how accessible our local MPs are and to know that your voice is truly being listened to. I look forward to hearing about the work that she and The Children's Society do together to ensure that progress is made for refugee and migrant young people and their families.

If you’d be interested in volunteering like Alison and meeting with your local decision makers in support of our work, why not sign up to become a campaign champion?

 BECOME A CAMPAIGN CHAMPION 

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Posted: 26 March 2018