Latest news and updates

StowXmas Survey: Help Walthamstow to Shop Locally For Santa!

Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find.
William Wordsworth, 1806

Walthamstow is full of great places to find gifts and treats - that's why in the run up to Christmas, Hannukah and Eid 2016 we want to tell the world about them! To help promote our Walthamstow traders and shops we plan to produce a map of where you can find fantastic gifts around our community that we will be distributing for for free as well as online from early December onwards. 


Please complete this short survey! 

This project is part of our We17 campaign to help support our local economy, following the impact of the Brexit vote, and is being created in partnership with the Wood Street Walls . There will also be a poster you can display to support this 'shop local' initiative too. 

Please encourage anyone in Walthamstow who makes or sells gifts and treats to fill in this survey to help influence this project. 

Please complete this short survey! 

We will be in touch with those who have expressed interest in being part of this initiative to let them know the next steps - please note completing this survey does not commit any business to participation or guarantee a spot on this map and it will only cover the Walthamstow constituency area. The deadline for completion is Friday 11th November.  


Safeguarding Campaign Success: Help Make Sure Brexit Doesn't put Child Refugees At Risk

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On Wednesday 2nd November 2016 Stella Creasy MP and Peter Kyle MP met with the French Ambassador to the UK to discuss the welfare of the children in Calais. 
  

This week the Government have confirmed they accept our call to extend safeguarding to refugee children in Europe. This follows the principles of the “Dubs II” amendment and includes commitments to both those children covered by the Dublin regulations and Dubs children too.

However there is much to do to help children still stuck in France and elsewhere. And our ability to do this is at risk because of the vote to leave the European Union. This is because the Dublin regulations are part of European, not UK, legislation.  

Please help ensure the Government explicitly includes cooperation to help refugees in their Brexit negotiations and commits to writing the Dublin regulations into UK law. You can write to the Prime Minister using this link and there is a suggested text below. 

Please feel free to share this email with others who would like to support this request and encourage them to write too. 

Thank you to all those who supported our call to safeguard child refugees and helped us to win this policy- together we can ensure refugees are treated with dignity and fairness by Britain. 

 




Letter to send to the Prime Minister- Please click here to email her

Dear Prime Minister, 

Thank you for listening to our calls to extend Britain’s safeguarding procedures to child refugees in Europe. I know that this involved working with the French authorities as well as UK local Government and the Children's Commissioner. 

Yet I am concerned that the success of this strategy may be at risk because it refers to the Dublin regulations which are part of European Union law. That is why I am asking you to ensure the management of requests for sanctuary from those fleeing persecution are part of our plans for Britain’s discussions about leaving the European Union. In particular, please commit to explicitly retaining Britain’s participation in the Dublin regulations as part of any Brexit negotiations. 

I am proud that Britain has been part of this process and I hope we can continue to be proud to play our part in treating refugees with dignity and fairness. I look forward to your response. 


Les Enfants du Calais: Please Write to The French Government to Help Get All the Children in Calais to Safety


Please help us get the children left in the Calais refugee camp to safety by sending the letter via the links below to urge the French Government to act. 

All this week bulldozers and police have moved into the camp to evict the people there. It is chaos. Voluntary organisations are desperately trying to help the children eligible to come to Britain safely and legally - whether because they have family in the UK or they qualify under the Dubs amendment. 

Yet they and the British officials now working with them have faced persistent difficulties ensuring the children are registered by the French and so in safe locations – resulting in many being put at risk or taken out of Calais to unknown destinations. Without action more could go missing and last night many slept rough in the dangerous remains of the camp

Please join me writing to the French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve to ask him to work with us to safeguard them and show the British public supports these children. Below is a suggested text to use – in both French and English- and you can write to him online using this link. You can also contact him on twitter here

Please do also let your MP know you have done this and of your concerns about the safety of these children using this link.





Letter to send to the Minister for the French Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve - French and English translation. 

Cher Monsieur Cazeneuve,

Je vous écris en tant que citoyenne Britannique afin de solliciter votre aide pour nous assurer que les mineurs réfugiés à Calais – qui sont les bienvenus dans notre pays – ne sont pas oubliés ou mis en danger.

Je voudrais vous faire savoir qu’un grand nombre d’entre nous ici en Angleterre sont désireux d’accueillir dans notre pays ces enfants actuellement à Calais. Nous savons que beaucoup d’entre eux ont soit de la famille ici en Angleterre, soit besoin d’une nouvelle maison car leurs pays sont détruits par les guerres et les conflits. Cependant, nous sommes très préoccupés par la situation actuelle de démantèlement du camp, ainsi que par le sort des enfants qui n’ont pas pu faire enregistrer leurs demandes d’asile. 


En particulier certains qui, n’ayant pas pu être enregistrés auprès des autorités, dorment désormais à ciel ouvert dans les débris d’un camp en proie aux flammes ; ainsi que d’autres auxquels il a été demandé de monter dans des bus en direction de diverses villes françaises et par conséquent de partir loin des bénévoles et des organisations qui les ont aidés jusqu’à maintenant et craignent de perdre contact avec eux. Le gouvernement Britannique nous a annoncé qu’il ne pouvait pas aider ces mineurs sans votre permission ; or, nous savons que beaucoup sont anxieux et vulnérables, n’ayant aucune idée de ce que pourra être leur futur désormais.

Je vous invite donc à vous assurer que tous les enfants à Calais soient placés en sécurité dans la ville même de Calais, accompagnés de bénévoles et d’organisations britanniques. Ces organisations en effet peuvent aider à garantir que le gouvernement Britannique d’une part remplit l’engagement qu’il a pris d’aider ces mineurs à atteindre l’Angleterre, et d’autre part traite leurs demandes d’asile rapidement et efficacement. Je respecte pleinement le droit qu’a le gouvernement Français de gérer cette situation et j’espère que vous interviendrez pour vous assurer qu’aucun enfant ne sera oublié, seul, dans le froid, ou éloigné du réseau de soutien qui l’accompagne. 

Merci beaucoup de l’attention que vous portez à cette requête, pour votre aide et pour ce que vous apportez à ces enfants.






Dear Monsieur Cazeneuve 

I'm writing to you as a British citizen to ask for your help to ensure the refugee children in Calais who are welcome in our country are not forgotten or put at risk. 

I would like to let you know that many of us here in Britain are keen to welcome those children currently in Calais to our country. We know many either  have family here in Britain or are in need of a new home as their countries are destroyed by war and conflict - however, we are concerned about the situation as the camp in Calais is cleared, and the fate of the children who have not been able to register for their claims to asylum to be processed. 


In particular I understand some who have not been able to register with your authorities are now sleeping in the open in the remains of the camp which are on fire, and others have been asked to go onto buses to other parts of France and so away from the voluntary organisations who have been helping them who are concerned about losing contact with them. The British Government has told us that they cannot help these children without your permission, and we know many are frightened and vulnerable with no idea of what their future will be at present. 

I urge you to ensure all children in Calais are in safe locations in Calais itself and with representatives of the UK voluntary organisations. These organisations can help ensure the British Government fulfils the commitment it made to helping these children come to Britain and processes their claims for asylum in Britain quickly and efficiently. I respect the right of the French Government to manage this situation, and I hope you will intervene to ensure no children are left out in the cold weather alone, or taken away from the support networks they have. 

Thank you for reading my request for your help and for working to help these children. 

Dubs II: Safeguarding Child Refugees- An Open Letter to Theresa May

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On Wednesday 12th October, I told the Prime Minister herself that 18 of the 178 children in the Calais refugee camp who have the right to be in the UK with their family have gone missing.

Her Government has known about these children since July 2016- please join us asking her to track down these children and protect all those remaining in the refugee camp who have the right to be in Britain as the French begin demolishing the camp.

I have written to the Prime Minister to offer her the details of these missing children to help identify them. Delays in acting to process the asylum claims by these children and help transfer them to the UK mean that they are still stuck in Calais. Fears are growing that efforts to fast track the processing of these children before the camp is demolished will be too late, so it is critical that we act to challenge this situation now.

Please help raise awareness of these missing children by sharing details of them on social media, and ask the Prime Minister to help find these children and safeguard the unaccompanied child refugees in Calais as the evictions begin. Time is running out - with your help we can ensure our Government fulfils the pledge made by the British parliament in the Dubs amendment.

You can use this simple link to write to the Prime Minister here. 


Deal Agreed to Save Butterfields Estate

I’m pleased to now be able to announce that after several weeks of negotiations a deal has been agreed between Dolphin and the Butterfields E17 to enable Dolphin to purchase this estate, subject to contract. If completed, this deal will enable all the tenants to remain on the estate and end the threat of evictions as they will all become tenants of Dolphin. I’m grateful to RBS, Dolphin and the current owners of Butterfields E17 for their efforts to make this deal happen and offer these families and residents of Walthamstow the opportunity to stay in our community. We may have had our differences, but their willingness to get round a table and work together for the best interests of Walthamstow residents has paid off.
Having spoken to the residents I know how pleased they are that we have managed to make this progress.  I want to thank the Wood Street local councillors Richard Sweden, Pete Barnett and Angie Bean and Cabinet member for Housing Khevyn Limbajee for their help with supporting the residents through this time as well supporting all our work on this matter, and specialist housing lawyer Giles Peaker who has given kindly of his time in advising the residents on their legal rights. Finally and most importantly, I want to congratulate the residents on their resilience and determination to make their case for their tenancies.
I will continue to liaise with Dolphin, Butterfields and RBS to ensure that this deal is completed and will update Walthamstow when this occurs. To ensure that this deal is not disrupted or delayed, I would now urge all those interested in this issue to be patient and await this news. In the meantime, if you wish to support this deal, I would be grateful if residents in Walthamstow could show their support for this deal by helping me welcome Dolphin Living to Walthamstow  (@dolphinliving) and thanking RBS for their help with this matter (@RBS).   

Dubs II: How You Can Help Safeguard Child Refugees- Campaign Actions

The French Government have confirmed their intention to evict the Calais camp- including the Children's Centre- by the 31st October 2016. There is an urgent need to act to protect many vulnerable people including over 1000 children. Reports from the camp speak of increasing unrest and violence in response to this deadline. The Home Office now has the paperwork for 387 children who volunteers believe have the right to be in the UK legally but are in the camp in Calais. Yet still our Government refuses to act. 

We are campaigning to change that and safeguard these children. Working across political parties we are proposing the Dub II law - an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill which will force the Government to act. Here are four actions you can take to help us make this law and help the children in the Calais camp today:

  1. Please consider making a donation to pay for mobile phone credit so we can keep in touch with them if they are evicted, and buy suitcases with wheels so they can try to keep any belongings they have. You can do so online here. 
  2. Please ask your MP to support the Dubs II amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill. You can find a suggested text below to use and if you get a positive or negative response please let us know!
  3. Please contact members of the House of Lords online to ask them to support Dubs II amendment - you can find a list here
  4. Please share this email with family and friends around the country to ask them to join us acting to help child refugees. 
  5.  

You can find a background briefing about this amendment here

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Dubs II: Background Briefing On The Child Refugee Safeguarding Amendment

Under UK law unaccompanied refugee children are entitled to come to the UK, either to be reunited with their families or to be taken into care by local authorities.   However, despite their legal and humanitarian obligations the Government has not yet resettled a single child to the UK from France, Greece or Italy.  That's why we are pressing the Government to take action now and tabling a Parliamentary amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill 2016, which would force the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for the safeguarding of unaccompanied refugee children in Europe.            

The makeshift Calais camp is home to more than 10,000 people. Among them are over 1,000 unaccompanied children who are forced to share tents with strangers because there are no facilities or resources to properly care for them. Between August and September 2016, there has been a 51% increase in children arriving at the camp, with eleven being identified every day. These children, like others in Europe, are fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries such as Eritrea, Afghanistan, and the Sudan. When French authorities evicted part of the Calais camp earlier in 2016, 129 children went missing. They are all at risk of human trafficking, violence and abuse and of falling into crime.

Some unaccompanied refugee children have the right to come to the UK under a rule known as the Dublin III regulation, because of their close family links here.  Others are eligible to come under an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 put forward by Labour Peer, Alf Dubs, and agreed by Parliament in March 2016. This requires the government to arrange for the transfer to the UK and support of unaccompanied refugee children from Europe. As yet the government has yet to transfer a single child under this provision and has not set out how children can access this protection.  

The French Government have now confirmed their intention to evict the Calais camp- including the Children's Centre- by the 31st October 2016. Reports from the camp speak of increasing unrest and violence in response to this deadline. The Home Office now has the paperwork for 387 children who volunteers believe have the right to be in the UK legally under either international law or the Dubs amendment but are in the camp in Calais. As yet no action for these children has been taken. 

Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy is working with colleagues in Parliament, to secure a cross-party amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill 2016, which is going through Parliament this autumn. The amendment would force the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for safeguarding unaccompanied refugee children in Europe and how they can access the protection of the original Dubs amendment. This new law is being called the "Dubs II" amendment. The aim is to ensure that all unaccompanied refugee children in Calais, and elsewhere in Europe, are brought to the UK under the Dublin III regulation and Dubs amendment. Once in the UK they would be assessed by local authorities under their child safeguarding duties. 

By supporting this amendment, MPs and Lords can help force the Government to do the right thing- you can find out more about how to help this campaign here. 

 

 


Wonder Women of Walthamstow: September Campaigns Showcase

Women in Walthamstow are leading the way in changing our country and our community - want to know how? Join us for tea on Saturday 24th September between 3.30pm-5.30pm to hear about their work and how we can help them! 

This event will showcase projects tackling violence against women, supporting the Yazidi women in their quest for safety and justice and promoting good sexual health education and services for all. We'll hear first hand from local activists about their campaigns and crucially how you can support or join them. This event will be held in central Walthamstow and is free to any woman from our community over the age of 14 - to help us with the logistics attendees are asked to RSVP via my office on stella@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk for further details of this event including the venue. Although there won't be a creche, children are also welcome to attend -  I'll be providing tea, coffee and juice but attendees are welcome to bring cake! 

Joining us on the day will be feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez to share her experience and tips for successful campaigning on and offline. 


Walthamstow's Olympic Homecoming Party for Lutalo Mohammad! 26 August 2016 Walthamstow Town Square from 6pm

On Friday 19th August Lutalo Mohammad, born and bred in Walthamstow, won a Silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. On Friday 26th August Walthamstow is staging an olympics homecoming party for him at our weekly night market. Please join us from 6pm when there will be live music, great food and lots of sporting entertainment as we say congratulations to our local Olympian in person. All young people are invited to make their own olympic medals to show what they would like to a champion in and Lutalo will be judging these, with the best getting special prizes at the Night market. I hope you can join me as we show our support for our local talent as it achieves national success! 

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No Child In Calais By Xmas: Visiting the Refugee Camp

On Tuesday 9th August I went to see for myself the situation in Calais, and meet with volunteers and refugees at the camps to 13938369_10157150983270562_6163581757674309936_n.jpgdiscuss progress on helping child refugees and the conditions at the camp. I also visited the Wilcumstowe Wagons, the caravans that residents of Walthamstow renovated in memory of Jo Cox, which are now offering shelter to refugees from countries including Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia as well as Afghanistan. 

Whilst I was at the camp, I made several videos about my trip which give direct testimony from those working there- you can find them all here:

 

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