Frank Hayman is an administrator at Hopscotch Women’s Centre, a charity based in Euston, London. Hopscotch has provided services to help minoritised women and girls for over 20 years, and continues to do so.
Our primary goal is to help minoritised women to overcome the barriers they encounter in their day to day lives.
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The Brexit vote and the ramifications of it on our service users continue to occupy the minds of both myself and my colleagues, and has only added to the litany of issues that many of our service users encounter.
Xenophobic behaviour emboldened by the Brexit vote, and the “Hostile Environment” policy being pursued by the Home Office has meant a huge increase in the numbers of individuals who seek our support with applying for the EU Settlement Scheme.
Many of the women we work with encounter treatment ranging from unhelpful to discriminatory when applying to official bodies, and therefore are usually apprehensive about filling out forms. We are able to help them combat this, by explaining the contents of the form to them in full, and by giving them a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in which to complete the form.
The process of applying for the scheme is one that can alleviate many anxieties of our service users, if conducted in a comfortable manner for many of them. One of the key advantages we have here at Hopscotch is our wide array of languages, which means that there is a good chance that any woman who comes through our door to apply for the scheme will be able to be led through the application forms in her native language, and therefore will be able to fully articulate her answers to an understanding staff member.
We also foresee accessing the welfare system as continuing to be a key challenge that many of our service users face. Due to a deliberately hostile and confusing system put in place, many of our service users report not being aware of their welfare entitlements and not being able to claim for the full amount. Given that our society continues to grow more unequal by the day, and as the safety net for the most vulnerable in our society continues to be slashed, we foresee this only growing as an issue.
All our staff here at Hopscotch received a full briefing on the EUSS from the wonderful team at New Europeans UK, meaning that all of our staff understand the application process fully, and are therefore able to confidently guide our service users through it.
These attributes have helped our wonderful staff team to successfully help multiple women to gain Settled Status, and thereby ease the burden on individuals who, sadly, have far too much of a burden foisted upon them by society otherwise.
All of the team at Hopscotch would encourage every individual to look into the EUSS, check if you are eligible to apply and apply post haste if so. Interacting with New Europeans UK and Hopscotch can hopefully provide evidence that there is a huge majority within our society that wants to help every person feel welcome in the UK.
If you would like help with applying to the EUSS, or feel Hopscotch could help you with any other issue, please contact us on 0207 388 8198 or at firstname.lastname@example.org