This month saw us gain a second office at 15 Queen street courtesy of our Development Grant and, as always, the kindness of Firstsite in finding us an appropriate space.
Its been wonderful to have a second space. Many of our clients come in to discuss confidential issues and this means we can now keep the office open while dealing with two cases. We are shortly going to advertise our opening hours so you know exactly when we are available. At present while we are often in the office we are busy taking appointments. Our wonderful regular volunteers and the addition of our first ever students on a placement from Essex University mean we can expand the hours we are available.
The new office is also a little larger and has helped us to offer a space for meetings with up to 12 people present.
Last month saw us take on a round 7 new clients. A surge in asylum seekers who have waited over 2 years for news from the Home Office is worrying and we have engaged with the local MPs to ask why clients are being quoted 6 month waits when the reality is so different and leaves them unable to budget for their families or prepare. Calls for people to be able to work after 6 months or a year as an asylum seeker are much more realistic – particularly as many of the clients we see were previously working here, often in skilled roles, and have had to claim asylum after changes in government or regimes at home.
We were also delighted when Essex University Volunteer Team (V-Team) contacted us to offer to paint the new office this month – a huge thank you to them.